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CNET First Look
Sound Freaq SFQ-1 Sound PlatformThe Sound Platform combines Bluetooth audio, FM radio, and iPod and iPhone compatibility into a boxy, yet beautiful, speaker dock.
Hey, I'm Donald Bell and today we're taking a first look at the Sound Platform, the first product from a new company called Soundfreaq. Now, this is a tabletop speaker system with a dock for your iPhone or iPod, as well as a Bluetooth connection that works with any iPad or other A2DP compatible Bluetooth device. The Sound Platform retails for $199 which is a very attractive price for the features and the sound quality you're getting. Also, personally speaking, I think the design is pretty cool. It's a blocky, modern, Dieter Rams-influenced design with a glossy top and little knobs that look like machined aluminum. The knobs are here to adjust bass, treble, EQ, or kick in the special sound enhancement mode. They're small and tightly spaced, but it's unlikely you'll use them often. Mostly, they're just here for looks and I completely approve. On the other side, you have these concave buttons for power, track skip, audio source, volume, and Bluetooth pairing. The source button takes you through the Bluetooth mode, iPod dock, FM radio, and aux input and you can see them cycle through on the little display. The display is pretty dim and isn't helped by the slim font they use, but it's nice to have. You also have this orange light behind the dock which helps you seat your iPod or iPhone into the dock, and also just looks kinda cool. What looks even cooler, though, is this hidden compartment on the side. It opens with a push and keeps the remote control out of the way with a magnetic backing. The remote is your standard IR type with buttons for volume, power, track skip, play/pause, and EQ. Also included is the power adaptor, an FM radio antenna wire, and three dock inserts, one for the iPhone 3G, one for most iPods or the iPhone 4, and a flat insert if you plan on just using the Bluetooth mode and want to keep the design clean. The back of the sound platform looks nice, too. Here, you can see the port and speaker design and on the bottom you have a place to plug in the power adaptor as well as an aux input and a socket for the radio antenna. Overall, the sound quality stands up to the competition in that $200 space. You don't get the portability you'd find in something like the Logitech S715i, but with features like Bluetooth and FM radio, it kinda makes up for it. So that's the Sound Platform from Soundfreaq. It's boxy and minimal but that's not a bad thing. The sound is full and louder than most. The price is spot on and details like the magnetic remote and compartment, EQ knobs, and the seamless dock cover really make this something special. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell.