So the question is easily answered: the i-deck 200 is indeed a £400 dock for the bargain price of £250? Well yes… and as always, no.
We rather passed over the dock’s lack of additional functionality earlier, but at its original RRP the omission of wireless streaming and additional inputs become glaring omissions when compared with the AirPlay enabled Zeppelin Air and Kleer touting, battery powered prowess of the rCube. Even the £299 Sound Stack has charging over USB as well as the Apple mount, plus Bluetooth streaming. The i-deck’s remote – while nicely styled – also sticks to the bare minimum (power, playback, source, volume) because there is nothing more the dock does – it’s also a little crudely made, with rather mushy rubber buttons.
As such the picture becomes somewhat more convoluted and ultimately is easier if broken down. ”Yes” the i-deck 200 produces audio quality worthy of a £400-worth dock. ”Yes” the i-deck 200 looks and feels like £400-worth of dock. But ”no” the i-deck 200 does not have the additional functionality to complete the package of a £400 dock and match illustrious rivals which also produce jaw dropping audio.
As a £400 dock the i-deck 200 would score 7/10 yet at £250 the picture changes completely. At £50 less than the Sound Stack we would go for the i-deck 200 every time, even with reduced functionality, and while we might be tempted to stretch to the additional £100 required to land the (similarly reduced) rCube, that is a significant further outlay. In short: if you can afford to spend no more than £250 on a dock, right now there is nothing on the market to touch the i-deck 200.
The Monitor Audio i-deck 200 is the perfect example of a wonderfully repositioned product. At £400 it was overpriced given its limited functionality, but at a whisker under £250 consumers now have access to an iPod dock which produces audiophile sound quality at a fraction of the price. Build quality is excellent, operation couldn’t be simpler and it does what its narrow focus was designed to do exceptionally well. Never has a dock been better value for money.
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