Boston Acoustics Duo-i Review


Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £159.90

Not everyone needs or wants DAB radio. FM does a very good job for most stations and AM is on hand if you want to tune into live sports coverage on Radio 5 Live – seriously, what else is it used for nowadays?

However, though that may be the case for many people, I think it’s fair to say the majority value the convenience and ease of use of DAB, especially with the ability of some radios, like the Pure Tempus-1 S, to record and playback shows at your convenience. Thus, when I was made aware of the Boston Acoustics Duo-i I was somewhat sceptical. Surely no radio-cum-iPod speaker dock in this day and age can compete if it can’t do DAB?

Well, personally, I still maintain that viewpoint, but if you don’t mind making that sacrifice then the Boston Acoustics Duo-i is without doubt the best example of a radio/iPod speaker dock we’ve yet seen.

Ok, so the styling may not be to everyone’s liking and a choice of finishes would be nice. Boston does offer some choice in the form of swappable speaker grills, which come in nine colours including chilli pepper (red) that we’ve used in a number of the other photos here, caramel (caramel), and olive (green), as well as the default grey.

Even with the grey grills in place, though, it has a certain austere charm and an understated elegance that means it should still fit in with most décors. It’s also incredibly well built with not a rough edge, degree of flex or dodgy join anywhere in sight.

The high quality speakers and amplifiers do result in it weighing a hefty 3.7Kg and the deep speaker housings do give it a larger footprint than you might expect, though. Certainly if you plan to have this on a bedside table, you may have to sacrifice your tabletop lamp, for instance. If you can manage to squeeze it on, though, you’ll be very pleased.

That’s because while the Duo-I is in essence just another decent sounding ipod dock-cum-radio, its brilliance comes in all the little details that make it so easy to use.

For a start, the three main controls are all very accurate and slick to use making adjusting things like radio tuning and clock times really quick and easy. A push of the larger central dial turns the Duo-i on and rotating it controls volume. The one on the right then serves the double function of tuning the radio and skipping tracks when using an iPod. Pressing it in also alternates between playing and pausing the iPod and auto-tunes to the next station.

On the left is the mode dial, which is used to navigate the Duo-i’s menu, except it isn’t really a menu but rather a grid of icons (see the video review for a demonstration), which you cycle through using the dial. In this way you can control all the Duo-i’s main functions including switching between inputs, setting the alarms, and activating Sleep mode.

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