Isn’t it convenient now that a smartphone can also act as a music player? No need to carry around a separate device for music – instead store all your favorite songs right on your smartphone. When listening to music, headphones are a great option for an intimate experience, but there are sure to be times when you want to let music fill the air and for that a docking speaker is the way to go.
When choosing a docking speaker, looks are, of course, important, but beyond that just how much do you know about which one is right for you? In this post, the LG Blog team provides five tips to help you choose correctly.
Tip #1: Portability
Very importantly, where do you plan on using your docking speaker? If it’s to listen to music in a certain room of the house or in an office, a larger and stationary docking speaker is your best bet for fuller sound features.
On the other hand, if the main purpose of purchasing a docking speaker is for use on the road, you’ll need to consider a size that can fit easily into a backpack or travelling bag. Conveniently, LG offers a range of docking speakers offering different levels of portability.
For fixed use, the sophisticated LG ND8520, weighing 6kg, will add terrific sound and a stylish look to boot.
For a portable option, the LG ND1520 is a compact docking speaker, weighing just 0.57kg which can easily be held in the palm of one’s hand and that you can bring with you anywhere.
Tip #2: Sound Quality
The majority of docking speakers will feature a sound output of below 100W. However, what might seem a “small” difference between say an 80W and 70W system can make a huge difference depending on your personal sound tastes. So what’s the best way to differentiate?
We recommend visiting a nearby consumer electronics store and checking three areas in particular while sampling the various docking speakers.
First, with music playing and the volume low, listen for any static or a “hissing” noise. At a low volume, there may be some ambient noise in any system you try, but decide whether the level of noise is bothersome enough that it would detract you if you were playing music softly while studying or trying to fall asleep.
Second, at a higher volume, it’s a definite no-no if you hear “crackle” emitting from the speakers. This means that the speaker won’t produce a clear sound and has too narrow a sound range.
Finally, if you can afford it and portability isn’t a concern, go with a 2.1ch docking speaker which will come with a bass speaker and/or subwoofer – to add more depth. For 2.1ch docking speakers in LG’s lineup, we once again highly recommend the 80W, ND8520.
Tip #3: Compatibility/Inputs
It will make sense to purchase a docking speaker that is compatible with your current smartphone. But there are some who may consider changing their smartphones in few years or want to have a universally compatible speaker – for example, won’t it be great if friends and family can play music on their smartphones at your party? With this in mind, you won’t be disappointed in purchasing the LG ND5520 (shown below) which works with both iOS and Android-based smartphones.
Also, in addition to smartphone compatibility, be sure to consider the types of inputs that a docking speaker supports. Some can only connect to a smartphone while others can be used with USB drives and even a computer.
Tip #4: Design/Style
Suffice to say when it comes to docking speakers, design is huge. LG’s docking speaker product lineup provides an array of tastes to suit everyone.
For a standard look that accentuates the synergy of smartphone and speaker, check out the LG CM2820 (shown right).
For a docking speaker that will serve as the perfect accompaniment to a nighttime drawer or chest, we suggest once again the LG ND5520 which captured top place at this year’s prestigious reddot design awards.
For a more eccentric look, the LG ND8520, winner of an Innovation Award at CES 2012, offers a decidedly modern look with great sound to match, as mentioned above.
Tip #5: What Else?
In addition to the tips above, you may be asking what else? We’ve already described the most crucial factors, but the below items will go a long way to final satisfaction (or not) with your purchase:
Does It Have an Alarm Clock? Not all docking speakers come with an alarm clock or for that matter digital clock so be sure to check. (ND8520 / ND5520 / ND1520)
AM/FM Radio for Live Listening: Although hours of audio content can fit on a smartphone, if you’re a fan of radio or want to listen to the latest baseball game live, you’ll need radio functionality. (ND8520 / ND5520 / ND1520)
Bluetooth for Music Without the Docking: Certain docking speakers offer Bluetooth compatibility meaning you can play music on your docking speakers wirelessly without docking. LG models fitting this criterion include the CM2820, ND5520, ND4520, and ND3520, ND8520
Remote Control: Seems obvious, but not all docking speakers come with remotes so look carefully at the package contents before you buy.
Ready to Go…
So there you have it…five tips to get you well on your way to choosing the docking speaker perfect for you. Happy shopping!