Yamaha's TSX-70 is a lunchbox-size speaker system that covers all the bases. Priced at $199, it offers AM/FM radio, a dock for the Apple iPod or iPhone, remote control, and an alarm clock with a sleep timer. Best of all, Yamaha manages to cram a total of three speaker drivers into this bedside box, delivering a full-range sound that defies its small footprint.
Measuring 4.25 inches high, 8 inches wide, and 5 inches deep, the TSX-70's metal-clad enclosure looks more than a little like a tipped over lunch pail. It's a handy size, seemingly perfect for a kitchen counter or a nightstand.
Unfortunately, the detachable power adapter that comes with it is a real beast. It comes in two parts: a 6-foot stretch of thin adapter cable that runs from the back of the speaker to a power brick, and a separate 6-foot stretch of standard power cable that runs from the brick to the wall. In total, that's 12 feet of ugly black cable that's impossible to conceal behind a toaster oven, making it an automatic deal breaker for use in the kitchen. Throw in the necessary AM and FM antenna wires and you really have a mess on your hands.
As a bedside alarm clock, the TSX-70 hits a different design snag. We took the speaker home for some real-world testing and discovered that the TSX-70's all-black front is a real pain to use in the dark. To Yamaha's credit, the button for switching off your morning alarm is located on the top and lights up to take the guesswork out of things. Still, for a device designed to be used during the hours when humans are at their worst, the TSX-70's petite buttons and their miniature labels won't do you any favors.
Features and performance
The TSX-70 boasts an impressive list of features, including AM radio, FM radio, remote control, alarm clock, sleep timer, five station presets, aux input, and a dock compatible with both iPod and iPhone. Many of the comparable bedside speaker dock solutions in the sub-$200 price range rely on the iPod for alarm clock functionality, and few offer AM radio.