Review Price £49.97
Philips DS3020 - Sound Quality, App and Verdict
The Philips DS3020 dock's Fidelio iOS app doesn't add any features to the dock directly, but does do so through your iPhone or iPod Touch. It offers a clock, alarms, weather and Internet radio. You'll need to download TuneIn Radio to use the latter though, as it helps to power the Fidelio app.
It doesn't do much that you could get from any number of non-Philips apps, and is unremarkable in the things it does do, but it does offer one very neat addition. You can choose whether to make the dock charge the iOS device or not - in a mains-only unit that's a somewhat pointless question (unless you're obsessed with maintaining the lifespan of your battery), but it's more useful in a potentially battery-powered unit.
The Philips DS3020 is small and in some ways very clever. But does it sound any good?
It absolutely does. This tiddly, pretty cheap dock offers much better sound quality than we expected, making it a near-perfect bedroom or secondary dock.
It uses a pair of Neodynium speakers, as seen in the older DS3000, but boasts slightly more power - 10w RMS against 8W. Although still tiny, it produces sound of impressive power and detail. The low-end is surprisingly powerful - with bass that, while not particularly deep or resonant, packs a meaty punch.
To provide you with some tunes while cooking, working or doing a spot of DIY (outside or in), the Philips DS3020 is wonderful. If you want it to replace a hi-fi, you're asking a bit too much, but would anyone seriously expect that from a dock with a base not much bigger than the footprint of a couple of Coke cans?
Remarkably, it holds onto its sonic dignity even as its little speakers are pushed hard, only sounding strained when pushed close to its limits. Naturally, it can't compete with larger, more expensive units like the Fidelio DS9 on volume, scale or sound quality, but it can nevertheless produce enough volume to fill small or medium-sized rooms.
High-end detail impresses too, offering fairly natural-sounding full-throated vocal reproduction for £50. The Philips DS3020 performs out of its size and price league across the board. And it hasn't even sacrificed looks to get there.
Head to the high street and you'll find plenty of docks selling around £50, from names like Gear4 and Kitsound. However, we're yet to come across one that offers as attractive a mixture of design and sound quality as the Fidelio DS3020 has. It's a steal.
It looks good. It sounds good. It won't leave a gaping hole in your bank balance. If there's something to dislike about the Philips DS3020, we're yet to find it. Bigger, more expensive docks in the Fidelio range will naturally offer better sound quality but if you want something small this is a brilliant device.
Scores In Detail
- Sound Quality