The Philips Fidelio speaker dock for iPhone and iPod delivers exceptional audio quality for its price, along with unique extras, such as a full-feature remote, proximity-sensitive lights, and an iOS app with integrated control over hardware's sound enhancement technology.
Below the Fidelio's dock connector you'll find a wide, metal volume rocker switch, with a plus and minus symbol at each end, and a tastefully etched Philips logo at its center. The Fidelio performs a minor magic trick by automatically illuminating the volume icons when it detects your hands nearby. We can't say the proximity-sensing backlit buttons offer much as a practical feature, but it's a classy detail we didn't expect to find in a speaker priced less than $200.
The most surprising design aspect of the Fidelio speaker is its depth, stretching back 5.5 inches. For a product that measures 6 inches tall and 16.5 inches wide, that's a lot of junk in its trunk. Fortunately, Philips does its best to visually minimize the depth by rounding and tapering the white plastic back.
As we mentioned earlier, a remote control is included that provides an impressive number of options for menu navigation, volume, mute, and playback controls. We're glad to see that the remote is large enough that you're unlikely to lose it between your sofa cushions. On the downside, the range of the IR remote is limited to around 15-20 feet, which doesn't get you too far.
The Fidelio's most notable feature, surprisingly, is an app. Upon docking your iPod Touch or iPhone in Fidelio for the first time, a message will pop on your screen urging you to download Philips' free Fidelio app. For better or worse, the only way to get rid of these prompts is to download the app, and we're glad we did.
Scratch beneath the surface by hitting the info icon in the lower left corner, and you'll find a number of sound enhancement controls not typically found on the iPod or iPhone, such as a custom five-band EQ and an adjustable dynamic bass boost control.