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Doubling down: Altec's Octiv Duo

If you're looking for a compact, affordable speaker for your bedside table that charges two iPhones or iPods simultaneously, the Octiv Duo is well-designed and offers reasonably good sound for the money.

Altec Lansing's Octiv Duo has dual docks for iPhones or iPods.
Altec Lansing

Earlier this year we reviewed the Altec Lansing Octiv Mini iPhone-iPod speaker and praised its compact size and attractive minimalist styling. Now Octiv is expanding the line with the dual-dock Octiv Duo, which is nearly double the size of its smaller sibling and costs about twice as much--a still affordable $99.

As with the Octiv Mini, Altec keeps things simple. After all, why build in a bunch of extras like an LCD for the clock, an AM/FM radio, or fancy alarm systems when they're all basically redundant to the impressive built-in capabilities of the iPhone or iPod Touch? Instead, like iHome, Altec Lansing focused on designing custom apps that enhance the usability of the speaker dock.

When you first plug in your iPhone or iPod Touch, it will prompt you to install not one but two free apps: Alarm Rock and Music Mix. Alas, once installed, the apps won't automatically launch when you dock your device; that's an Apple issue.

Since we last saw the Alarm Rock app, Altec has improved it a bit. In addition to snooze and sleep modes, you still get the capability to set alarms only on certain days so you could, for example, have a weekend alarm and a weekday alarm; you can set the alarm to go off on individual days as well, such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. There are also a handful of themes to customize the clock's appearance. You could, alternately, use any other clock or alarm apps you'd prefer.

Read the full review.