Two docks will be hitting the shelves before Christmas: the $179.95 Pure-Fi Express Plus and the $229.95 Pure-Fi Anytime. The speakers on the Express Plus are omnidirectional, meaning music is transmitted evenly in each direction. Handy if you get carried away dancing and find yourself on the other side of the room. It runs on AC power or batteries and comes with a remote for adjusting volume and navigating through your tracks.
The Anytime is, as you might have guessed, a clock dock. Its motion-sensing capabilities tend toward the dangerous: the snooze function can be activated with a mere wave of your hand above the speakers. It's cool, but heavy sleepers who can wave in a state of semi-consciousness may end up being late for work. Other features include an AM/FM radio and an input jack for non-iPod MP3 players.
Logitech's Boom shake-shake-shakes the room
Joining the dock duo is the $649.95 Squeezebox Boom network music player, the successor to last year's Editor's Choice-winning. The Boom has been loaded up with high-performance speakers and an integrated 30-Watt amplifier, making it a more complete package than the speakerless original. Six preset buttons allow you quick access to an internet radio station, playlist or song, should you become fixated on one particular tune.
Logitech's headphone offerings have benefited enormously from the company's acquisition of Ultimate Ears, the go-to guys for musicians' ear gear. Unveiled at the launch were the $329.95 Super.Fi 5 and $379.95 Super.Fi 5vi earphones. They'll be in stores before Christmas, and are identical except that the vi model has a button for answering calls and controlling music on an iPhone. Both versions come with three different-sized silicone ear tips plus two foam versions to ensure a snug fit that seals out ambient noise. The single-driver earphones sounded pretty darn good when we tested them with an iPod at the event — musical details and whispers that would form part of a background fuzz with budget ear buds were brought to the fore.
The final additions to the line-up are the Z-5 omnidirectional PC speakers. The $199.95 set is USB-powered and comes with a remote control for adjusting volume, changing tracks and launching multimedia apps. We heard music from the Z-5s, and sound was indeed equal from all sides — we rotated each speaker to make sure — but it also seemed a little trebly and thin. We'll report with a more comprehensive verdict after testing the speakers with some higher-quality music files.