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HolidayBuyer's Guide

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

SoundFreaq Sound Step

As a low-profile spin-off 2010's highly rated SoundFreaq Sound Platform, the SFQ-02 Sound Step delivers many of the same features (radio, Bluetooth, 2.1 speakers, remote). Expect the Sound Step to ship in the second quarter of 2011, priced at $149.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
The back of the SoundFreaq Sound Step has a textured grille that reminds us of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A power cord is connected at the bottom but can be removed if you want to run the system off its internal rechargeable battery.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
Inside the cavity on the back of the SoundFreaq Sound Step is a subwoofer, which helps to fill out the sound produced by the two smaller drivers on the front.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
The back of the SoundFreaq Sound Step also includes connections for FM antenna, line input, and video output.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
The front of the SoundFreaq Sound Step includes two speaker drivers, located on the far left and right so as not to be obstructed by your docked device.

Also note that unlike the original Sound Platform, the Sound Step does not use a recessed dock. Instead, a flexible spring-loaded dock connector comes out from the bottom and the device rests on a strip of rubber cushioning.

Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
Because the SoundFreaq Sound Step is equally useful as a wireless Bluetooth speaker for computers and mobile phones, a cover is included to tastefully disguise the dock connector when it isn't needed.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
Here you can see the flexible dock connector and the rubber pad surrounding it. For those using thick cases around their iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the rubber strip can be removed for a little extra reach.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
Let's say you do remove the rubber strip from around the dock. The grooves in the rubber fit perfectly into the grooved grille on the back of the SoundFreaq Sound Step, allowing you to store the padding in case you want to use it later.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
The right side of the SoundFreaq Sound Step includes buttons for power, volume, track skip, play/pause, and Bluetooth pairing.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
On the left side are buttons for UQ3 sound enhancement and playback mode selectors for the dock, Bluetooth, or aux input.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
The bottom of the SoundFreaq Sound Step includes an ingenious little recessed compartment for the included remote control.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
At the center of this photo, you can make out the outline of one of the speaker drivers behind the grille cloth. These speakers on the front aren't huge, but by offloading the low end to the rear subwoofer, the whole system sounds surprisingly full.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
Here's what the SoundFreaq Sound Step looks like with an iPad docked.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
Here's a side view of the SoundFreaq Sound Step with an iPad docked.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
Updated:
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