The Philips Fidelio DS7700 is here to bridge the gap between electronics and the outside world. It won't be too happy if it starts raining, but this high-quality iPod/iPhone speaker dock is just dying to provide you with tunes during days out in the park and barbecues in the garden. Let's see if it has the sound quality to back up its £179.99 price tag.
Philips's Fidelio range is home to more than a dozen models, but the DS7700 is perhaps the most feature-packed of them all. It functions perfectly well as a standard "at-home" dock but also offers Bluetooth wireless audio streaming and a built-in battery that'll provide up to 10 hours of playback away from the power plug.
Although bigger and more expensive than the vast majority of travel speakers, the Philips DS770 is prepared for a life away from the house.
Conscious that a coated metal speaker grille won't fare too well with too many knocks and scrapes, the DS770 has a metal-covered plastic plate that fits over its front when the unit's not in use. This is held in place with magnets, leaving no clips or clasps to break off.
Like the curved back of the dock, this front panel has a shiny brushed metal-style finish. It looks swish, but makes us wish that Philips had included a travel bag here. A days rummaging around in a rucksack and it's sure to pick up a few scratches that will spoil the look. When many other portable speakers include a cloth case, this feels like an oversight. Also, while making the front cover fully detachable enables the DS7700 to look the part as a kitchen or lounge sound system, it also means it's all-too easy to lose the front plate, particularly as the magnetic clasps aren't all that strong.
These issues aside, the dock is well suited to its task as a home and away iPhone dock. A pull-out flap on the back acts as a stand, and also causes the iOS device backrest to pop out on the front. Like all the current Fidelio docks, the DS7700 uses a raised dock socket, eradicating the need for any inserts for specific models - a major plus if you own several iOS devices. It'll handle iPads too.
The only controls on the dock are the volume and Bluetooth pairing buttons on its front and the power switch up top. This dock is designed for iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads primarily, but will pair with other Bluetooth-enabled devices too - including Android phones - with no problems. There's also a 3.5mm jack on the back to connect other music sources.
Connectivity-wise it's pretty flexible, but the rechargeable battery is not removable. There are no visible screws either, so the ambitious among you will have to smash the DS7700 to bits to get to its internals - not something we'd recommend.