Putting the i9200 together was very simple – you just have to attach the speakers to the main unit via the rather weedy speaker cables (which are captive) to spring clip terminals at the rear of the main unit. A phono input for adding a sub is present too, should you wish to supplement the sound from the supplied units. You might feel the need to do so as the speakers are also incredibly lightweight, which didn’t bode well for sound quality. Close up, the fit and finish is merely ok – it’s quite plasticky but overall it looks fine. It’s available in white too, but I think the black is smarter though it does pick up finger marks.
The oblong angles contrast well with the various circles – the four silver centres of the CDs is accompanied by a silver circle surrounding the ports in the middle of the speakers. The literal centrepiece though is a large silver dial surrounding an LCD screen, which glows blue when you turn the unit on. And when you place your iPod on top, you get another circle adding to the affect – the scroll wheel. The clean look of the speakers is rather spoilt by a flurry of buttons that sits at the bottom of the centre unit – it really ought to have been covered by a flap.
The controls replicate those found on the rather uninspiring remote – with raised bumps for buttons. It is large enough to avoid being cramped and is clearly labelled. However, if you want to change the volume, you have to press volume up or down twice – once to bring up volume and another to get it to do what you want, which seems silly. It also is unfeasibly difficult to actually get the controls to do anything, which is quite frustrating. When you want to be cool and debonair at your dinner party with your wall hanging, door sliding CD player, you’ll be stabbing fruitlessly at the buttons.
In case you are wondering, yes the doors do slide apart, Star Trek style. You can’t do it from the remote though, so you can’t show off – you have to walk up to the thing and press R or L at the base. The movement is steady but not completely smooth or noiseless – a sign that this is a B&O on a budget. You can only do one side at a time as the glass frontages move into the same space.
Powering on from the remote, the blue display welcomes you with a little ‘Hello’ and not surprisingly, a ‘Goodbye’ when you turn off. If you’re playing a CD, you choose between 1-4 on the remote and Load appears on the display. I found that discs span up and played nice and quickly. Pressing Display Mode, switches the round blue screen, between track number and time, the clock and timer. The latter lets you wake up to a CD or your iPod, whatever was last playing and has a snooze button that turns if off for another nine minutes, though you’ll have to be quite precise on the button.
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