The remote might be a bit poor but it has a good range of features. There’s direct buttons for getting to the main menu, where you can access the list of Internet radio stations, the network set-up and the Favourites list. This is built up by pressing the amusing smiley face and sad face buttons on the remote – the smiley one to add to the list and the sad one to remove it. On the networking side you can enable up to three profiles so you can easily use the device in multiple locations, without having to go through the network set-up process every time.
One thing I was surprised at when I placed my iPod on the dock was that the Noxon takes control of it – you can’t browse your music from your iPod forcing you to use the device itself or the remote. This means that you’re limited to the relatively limited low res six line screen. Press the ‘i’ button the remote and it scrolls between the station name and the time. It works pretty well most of the time, but when you’re scrolling through the contents of a mostly full 80GB iPod, it becomes a limitation and frankly I found navigating something of a chore. The remote has SMS style letters next to the numbers so you can search for things quickly, which ought to ease the pain of going through extensive lists. Alas, I found that when trying this with the iPod, I just got the message, ‘Unsorted list’. However, I could search through radio stations via this method. I appreciated being able to do this, but not being able to do it for the iPod is, for me, a fatal flaw.
What was quite pleasing though was the sound quality, especially considering the size. These days, small speakers don’t have to mean small sound and this proves to be the case here. In particular, the bass response is pleasingly rounded and full, and there was actually more detail and depth than I expected in the sound, though still not quite enough in the mid-range to really satisfy. The main problem though is that the sound stage is just too narrow – even the most average sized iPod speaker docks will give a wider stereo spread than this. And when you do push the volume very loud – and it can go extremely loud – you can hear it start to strain. Fortunately, there’s a master volume knob located at the rear, so you can maintain the maximum level and go within these limits with the volume control on the remote or by pressing the directional pad up and down.