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SoundFreaq SFQ-02 Sound Step, hands-on

Upstart speaker manufacturer SoundFreaq unveils its second Bluetooth speaker dock solution for iPhone, iPod, and iPad, the SFQ-02 Sound Step.

Photo of the SoundFreaq SFQ-02 Sound Step speaker dock.
The SoundFreaq SFQ-02 Sound Step speaker dock. Donald Bell/CNET

LAS VEGAS--One of my happy surprises of 2010 was a Bluetooth speaker dock called Sound Platform from an upstart company called SoundFreaq. Stylish yet unique, with a premium sound, generous extras, and a down-to-earth price, the Sound Platform came out of nowhere to deliver a product few others can match.

So this year, in spite of being torn in a dozen different directions to cover tablets at CES, I made time to visit SoundFreaq to see what it's cooking.

For the company's sophomore product, SoundFreaq is going smaller, more portable, and more affordable. The SFQ-02 Sound Step is a 2.1 speaker dock, due out this summer for $149. It doesn't have the tiny, retro knobs of the original, but core features such as A2DP Bluetooth streaming, iPod/iPhone/iPad support, FM radio, remote control, and UQ3 audio enhancement are all still here.

The Sound Step boasts some advantages over its predecessor, as well. For one, it includes a built-in lithium ion battery, offering up around 6 hours of cord-free music. There's a video output, making it a suitable little sound bar to keep near your TV. And finally, the dock connection has been raised up, making it possible to dock an iPad (even one that's wrapped in a case).

To see the SFQ-02 Sound Step in all its minimal glory, head over to our photo gallery.