As with any wireless streaming solution, there is some degree of setup involved with the Philips Fidelio AS851. However, it’s all made fairly simple by the Fidelio Android app.
This has been available for a while, but has now been updated to support easy Bluetooth synchronisation with devices like the dock. From within the app’s main menu, you simply select the dock within the “Speaker Connection” submenu, and the two will hook up. The app is very aggressive about trying to maintain a connection, and will try to resync whenever possible. This will dig into your Android smartphone’s battery a bit, but is a bonus in terms of making the link between phone and dock appear seamless.
The app isn’t simply a means to connect, though. It’s also a full music interface. It hooks into the TuneinRadio and Songbird apps to give you access to your music library and thousands of internet radio stations. There’s a clock, and weather report, too.
As neat an idea as a fully-featured hub may be, the app interface needs work. It isn’t as smooth or slick as the TuneinRadio and Songbird apps proper, and we quickly turned to using the Fidelio app as little more than a way to perform the Bluetooth sync, ditching it afterwards. There’s no big downside to playing this way, as all audio output from the phone is sent over to the AS851 over AD2P – so you can use it to output sound from games and videos as well as music apps.
If you dislike the way the Fidelio app keeps on draining your Android phone’s resources, you can dump it altogether and sync up manually through the handset’s Settings menu. There’s nothing intrinsically Android-biased about the AD2P Bluetooth streaming working at AS851’s core, and you can stream sound from a great many Bluetooth-enabled devices here, including an Apple iPad. It once again highlights that the “made for Android” tag of the dock is all about the charge dock rather than something deeper-rooted in the way it produces sound.