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By Hanleigh Daniels 24 November 2011

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There are a number of clock radio accessories such as the Philips DC315 Clock Radio which offers the ability to be used as an entertainment docking station for your iPod touch or iPhone, even though they will be employed primarily as a clock radio next to your bed.

For music lovers that simply want a stylish and capable entertainment dock for their Apple iOS-operating mobile device, including the iPad, Philips provides its Fidelio Primo Docking Speaker DS9000 (video posted below).  

At home within any chic, modern lounge    

This oval shaped speaker system measures 562 x  214 x  216 mm and weighs in at a bicep-building 6.5 kg. Luckily you are only likely to move it once, to make it the entertainment focal point of your living room.

The DS9000 sports an oval-shaped exterior casing made from natural wood, whilst the open space in the centre of the speaker system is trimmed with chrome. This provides an elegant look and feel, making the DS900 stylish enough to fit right into any entertainment area, next to the HDTV and PlayStation 3 gaming console.     
Strangely the DS9000 doesn’t sport a screen to display the date or time, since this will come from your docked iPhone or iPad, once you’ve downloaded (almost 20 MB) Philips’ Fidelio app from the App Store (more details below).

There are only two volume buttons (+ and -) present on the front of the speaker system, while a remote control is provided in the retail box to access all the other basic functionality, including play and pause as well as skipping to the next track.   

Sound power and quality

Philips says that its DS9000 system features “passive crossover” for “full audible spectrum reproduction”, “pure digital processing technology” for the best sound clarity and “precisely tuned bass pipes” for “deep, tight bass reproduction”. All of this marketing speak simply boils down to one of the best sound quality we have experienced from any sound system we recently tested.

Whether you’re listening to pop, urban, R&B, classical music or gospel, you will be impressed with both the volume levels as well as the clarity of the music that the DS9000’s twin 50 W speakers produce. We found that for rock, the standard settings aren’t the most ideal, containing a bit more distortion then when listening to classical music for instance. The remedy? Once again it lies in the Fidelio app.

Deeper integration via app

Using the Fidelia  app you can adjust the sound settings control (EQ levels) when your iPhone is connected to the DS9000 system, by either tinkering with the settings yourself or by selecting from the presets including pop, rock and jazz. Selecting the EQ levels for rock will up the sound quality to the same excellent levels experienced within the other music genres.  

Besides being able to play or skip tracks and adjust the sound settings, the Fidelio app will also enable you to display a digital clock screen, indicating the date and time on the retina touch-screen of our iPhone 4. Via the app we also had access to functions such as an alarm-clock and the weather forecast for our location, all clearly displayed on-screen.  
Additional features

As with most of these devices, your Apple iOS-running mobile device will charge when plugged into the DS9000. At the back of the docking station you’ll find a 3.5 mm audio jack that allows you to connect and play music via another smartphone or MP3 player, with Philips thoughtfully also including the 3.5 mm connector cable.

When using another device such as these, you would have to utilise its controls to manage music playback, as neither the supplied remote or controls on the front of the DC9000 will enable you to skip tracks or play and pause music. The volume though can still be handled via remote.

Final word

Philips’ Fidelio Primo Docking Speaker DS9000 boasts excellent sound quality and volume that places it head and shoulders above the rest of the docking stations that we’ve tested. Not only does it sport a chic design that will not look out of place in even the most stylish of entertainment areas, but also its own app that you can download for added functionality.

Another factor setting it apart is its support of not only the iPhone and iPod, but also Apple’s iPad tablet. The Fidelio Primo Docking Speaker DS9000 comes very highly recommended for Apple aficionados, costing round-about R3999 to make part of your entertainment setup.  

Pros:

Excellent sound quality as well as being capable of playing music at an incredibly loud volume, more functionality unlocked via app, supports iPad, very chic design, auxiliary input and charges iOS device when inserted.   

Cons:

Not the most affordable docking station available for the iOS-running devices and somewhat heavy.

PROS
Excellent sound quality as well as being capable of playing music at an incredibly loud volume, more functionality unlocked via app, supports iPad, very chic design, auxiliary input and charges iOS device when inserted.
CONS
Not the most affordable docking station available for the iOS-running devices and somewhat heavy.
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