Sony DS11iP is an iPhone/iPod dock and a clock radio – at the same time. It has a built-in 3.5w+3.5w speakers that plays decent tunes, like what you’d expect for a product like this and in this price range.
Before we dig into what it does, let’s quickly look into what comes in the box. Besides the actual speaker/dock/clock radio unit, you get a few iPhone/iPod dock adapters, a small remote, a power supply with a rather short cord, manual and an external antenna, which you might not need – I’ve never used it.
Being a clock radio, it has to be able to wake people up when it’s time to do so. Personally, it takes no less than a miracle to get me up in the mornings. The iPhone alarm by itself is not going to cut it, I need something loud and annoying – like a Sony Ericsson alarm that will increase its volume until it’s so loud your ears will pop. Sony DS11iP has a three alarm modes: A buzzer, iPod music/video and Radio.
The buzzer doesn’t sound too loud. I think it’s enough to wake up most people but it only worked for me because it was a new sound. After a few weeks I’m sure it would be too low to wake me up after I have gotten used to it 🙂 The good news is, DS11iP can also play radio or iPod music. You can also define the volume when setting the alarm so it plays louder music when sounding an alarm than what it might do under normal circumstances.
It has two alarm modes, “A” and “B”. Then you can set an alarm mode for weekdays and one for weekends, in case you have to get up at different times of the day. Snooze button is located on top and is nice and big, it takes very little practice before you’ll be able to hit snooze while still being asleep.
The clock display has different levels of brightness so you can adjust it according to your needs. I found that the bright setting was too bright, it would simply light up my room. Medium was just fine. If there has been a power cut, the display brightness will be dimmed to notify you that the power has been away. The clock doesn’t reset so you don’t have to worry about that in case of power cuts. Of course, if there’s no power, DS11iP will not be able to charge your iPhone/iPod overnight.
As for sound modes, Sony DS11iP has standard, “MEGA BASS” and “MEGA Xpand”. I didn’t like the sound of mega bass too much, it made my music sound a bit too hollow. Mega Xpand on the other hand, that, to me, made my music sound more “rich” and as if coming from more than just the docking station. It’s a personal preference so you need to play around to find out whats best for your tunes.
I also had great pleasure of the “Sleep” mode. Clicking it will give you an array of minutes to select from, until the radio/iPod will go to sleep. Great for when you want to listen to music before falling asleep and not having to worry about turning it off again.
The remote was small and didn’t feel exclusive at all, partly due to the huge amount of buttons on it (18). I wish Sony would have made a better remote. It does what it’s supposed to do and it doesn’t take up much space at all. iPod features were limited, at least with iPhone 3GS, as I was unable to search for songs or anything like that, but you can next/previous, play/pause, volume up/down. The basic things.
iPhone 4 compatible? I don’t know at this time. I don’t see why not, though you might have to find a dock adapter elsewhere as iPhone 4 will probably not fit very well with any of the adapters that came with DS11iP. However, it should be possible to just plug in the iPhone 4 without using an adapter at all since the dock connector will fit, but using an adapter will provide greater stability.
Just like with the remote, Sony DS11iP has a lot of buttons and they look, sound and feel very plastic. The price, £69 at Amazon UK ($99 in the US according to Sony) seems fair to me. The dock / speaker / clock radio, whatever you call it, doesn’t exactly feel exclusive and of high quality. But it does what it’s supposed to and it does it in a way that makes me want to give it the “approved”-stamp.
I’d like to see a better and more well-designed remote, better buttons (and less of them!) on the speaker/dock/clock radio and better audio quality especially when playing louder than normal (relative, I know). Therefor my final rating for this product will be 3.5 out of 5.