All of which brings us to the question of value. Ceratec has given the CeraAir Two a £499 RRP which places it in direct competition with the Zeppelin Air (£499) and well above established heavyweights like the aforementioned rCube (£350) and staggeringly cheap i-deck 200 (£250). From a pure audio perspective all three of these docks have an edge over the CeraAir Two making it a hard sell.
The flip side is it does sound good in isolation and the sheer beauty of the CeraAir Two leaves all other docks standing. Since premium docks are as much about style as audio (proper HiFi speakers with accompanying subs can be bought for less) this factor should not be underestimated. The greater flexibility of a bundled AirPort Express unit must also be considered, though from this perspective both the rCube and i-deck 200 still come in much cheaper with the Express’s £79 price tag added in.
Lastly, given the CeraAir Two’s soundbar form factor, we think Createc missed an opportunity in not including some form of A/V connectivity while Bluetooth would’ve provided a low cost alternative for those not won over by Apple’s product range.
A further point of consideration is Ceratec tells us a near 200W version of the CeraAir Two with BridgeCo’s integrated AirPlay chip is in the works. Whether that will raise the price even further remains to be seen, but if the company can pull that off it might just have a dock to take on all comers…
Ceratec deserves a huge amount of credit for producing a dock which truly stands out from the crowd. The CeraAir Two is a beautifully styled, wonderfully built design statement that looks as good – if not better – than any on the market today. Its AirPlay credentials are dubious given they come via a bundled AirPort Express unit, but this adds flexibility and means streaming performance is better than any integrated AirPlay dock. The weak point is performance with the dock sounding good in isolation, but it lacks detail in the high range compared to its rivals. With a high price tag to boot it is therefore a primarily superficial purchase, but we remain hopeful of great things from future generations.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 7