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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.