Recently, we looked at two tabletop audio products from Boston Acoustics: the Horizon i-DS2 iPod speaker and the Horizon Solo clock radio. Both of them offered superior sound, but left us wanting more. That's where the Boston Acoustics Horizon Duo-I comes in: it's essentially the two aforementioned products combined into one.
The Horizon Duo-i comes in two standard colors--midnight/gray and silver/mist--and is also customizable via the Boston Acoustics "Personal Options Plan" available on the company's Web site. There you can choose from a number of colored grilles to personalize your device for around $15 a pop.
The Duo-i is covered in a rubberized coating, which makes it a lot easier to carry and transport. It's a bit heavier than the previous Boston models, weighing in at 8.5 pounds. It also is a lot deeper, measuring in at 5.5 inches tall by 13 inches wide by 8 inches deep. It could still probably fit on a nightstand, but you may want to place it somewhere you can afford the extra real estate.
What separates the Duo-i from its competitors is its incredible ease-of-use. We were very happy to see that the controls were laid out the same way as we found on the Horizon Solo. The three rubber knobs make it very easy to customize your listening experience. Whether it's setting radio presets (10 FM, five AM) or adjusting alarms, the layout is logical and very easy to use.
The Duo-i allows you to set two separate alarms to either tone, radio, or iPod playback. When set, the alarms will gradually increase the volume of the source. A cool feature we enjoyed is the unit's silver rim that circles the periphery of the entire face--this is actually a touch-sensitive snooze button that worked perfectly in our testing.
We tested the Duo-i with a number of iPods. The unit supports all fourth-generation and higher iPods with a dock connection and includes a series of adapters to fit each model. This also includes the iPod Touch and iPhone, but--since it's not iPhone "certified"--you'll need to toggle the phone to airplane mode so that you don't get an irritating feedback interference with the Duo-i. We were also glad to see a video output port on the unit's rear for those iPods capable of playing video files. We hooked the Duo-i up to our TV via a composite wire with no problems. (Just make sure your iPod is set to TV-Out when using this mode.)
The Duo-i offers additional connectivity options in the form of two aux-in ports. The first, located on the front of the unit, will take any 1/8-inch headphone adapter for use with something like another digital media device. The second port is located on the device's rear and uses standard RCA analog plugs (red and white). There's also a headphone jack next on the front panel.