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JBL On Stage Micro III review:

JBL On Stage Micro III

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The Good The JBL On Stage Micro III has the look of modern art and offers a practical, portable option for charging and listening to your iPod or iPhone.

The Bad A USB sync cable isn't included, and despite the JBL brand name, the On Stage sounds anemic for the price.

The Bottom Line We understand buying the JBL On Stage for its unique look and its use as a charging dock, but there are options with better sound available.

CNET Editors' Rating

6.0 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 5.0

The JBL On Stage series has a long history as a stylish speaker dock with a small footprint. Now in its third generation, the design of the On Stage Micro III ($99) is a conversation piece unto itself, though its sound quality can't compare to the recent influx of great, affordable speakers.

The On Stage Micro III (like its larger spin-off, the On Stage IV) looks like something you'd find in Frank Gehry's home. The fluid, organic lines of the glossy plastic weave across each other, creating a mound of speaker grilles that fire upward and out.

The overall footprint of the speaker dock is around 6 inches square, rising 2 inches high at its tallest point. At the top of the modern-looking heap, you'll find a clear plastic dock well that accepts universal inserts, including the matching clear-plastic fitting that comes included. The system meets with Apple's "Made for iPhone" certification, so you can rest assured that your iPhone or iPod will charge, and that the speakers and wiring are shielded to prevent cellular interference.

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