Sony Speaker Dock for iPhone mini-review

Sony Speaker Dock/Clock Radio for iPhone
I’ve been thinking about upgrading my clock radio for awhile now and have been looking at the various units with iPod docks built in. I knew that the iPhone had issues with many third party docks/clock radios because of the interference the GSM radio puts out. Not to mention the issue of incompatible docks meant for iPods that could fry your iPhone.

I came across the Sony Speaker Dock/Clock Radio at both London Drugs and Future Shop. The fact that the box specifically states that is made for the iPhone (complete with official logo) seemed like a good thing:
Sony Speaker Dock/Clock Radio for iPhone

I also came across a similar unit at Costco but there is a very subtle difference in that the model at Costco (and the display model at Future Shop) are the older version that isn’t certified for the iPhone so make sure you get this model number: ICF-C1iPMK2 (MK2 = Mark 2).

Here’s a couple of points about the device:

Pro:

  • very nice sounding and can go very loud without distortion – almost too much for a clock radio
  • comes with a small remote that lets you easily navigate your iPod/iPhone menus, choose playlists, etc as well as control volume.
  • iPhone playback works through speaker dock regardless of whether or not the mute switch is on or off the iPhone
  • you can set independent volume levels for each of the two alarms. You can have the radio alarm volume at one level and the iPod/iPhone level at another when used as an alarm
  • you can play the iPod at night and put a sleep timer on it and everything shuts down nicely when specified
  • it’s cheap! I got my unit for $79 during a weekend sale. Regular price is $99 everywhere which is still cheaper than other similar units with less features
  • the dock can even accommodate my iPhone in it’s Speck Pixel case which is probably one of the bulkiest covers you can get
  • it has an AUX In so it can be used with my Zune ;)

Cons:

  • the clock display is too bright – despite having three brightness options, the lowest is too much in a dark room
  • the snooze button is behind the iPhone – not a huge deal but a little awkward to reach while half asleep

As you can see, there is a lot to like about this dock. It would make a decent kitchen radio as well and comes in black or white too.

I was wondering how you use the iPhone with the alarm feature. Previous iPod’s had a wake/sleep to music option but the iPhone, strangely, does not. If you don’t already have something selected, the alarm will simply play the first song in your library. If you select a playlist the night before, the alarm will start up on whichever song/playlist you left off at which is pretty slick.

Check out the full specs on the Apple Store as well as the positive reviews.

7 Comments

  1. That’s the first dock-based item I’ve ever seen that will properly handle a case like that.

  2. John says:

    Derek: strangely, the mark I model on display at Future Shop had a dock insert but the mark II didn’t come with anything. There is a dial on the back of the unit that you turn and a ‘back rest’ pushes out to support any docked device. It’s basically a universal dock without inserts. I’m sure it would support them for specific devices.

  3. Glitterati says:

    Hi there, came across your review as I’m thinking of picking up one of these. Do you happen to know if the dock will work with a Nano (2nd Gen)? Thanks!

  4. John says:

    Yes….it should work with any dock connecting iPod or iPhone…I’ve tried it with a couple of nanos and iPhones with no problems at all.

  5. Glitterati says:

    Good to know, thanks! I’ll probably pick this up then, thanks again for the great review.

  6. nightdriver09 says:

    I got one of this ipod dock and here are additional pros and cons I’ve observed so far:
    Pros:
    1) It is easy to operate. The simple user’s guide that it came with is good enough for you to learn your way around.
    2) The top cover where the buttons are doesn’t accumulate finger prints.
    3) The ‘mega expand’ feature doesn’t distort the sound.

    Cons:
    1) The power plug is too big and heavy. It is also permanently attached to the machine.
    2) It somehow lacks the charm of the tweets in high frequencies, but you can boost it with your ipod EQ setting.

    I’m satisfied with this ipod dock. Price is reasonable for the sound quality and the functionalities/features as well.

    • John says:

      Agreed…it’s not perfect for is a good price point for the quality. I just wish the snooze button was more accessible when an iPhone is docked…you kinda have to reach over it to hit snooze.

      At least it still works with the new iPhone 3GS.

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