The speakers use the same Uni-Q drive units found in KEF's more formidable hi-fi speakers and the integrated 2 x 35W digital amplifiers are capable of surprising power, especially considering the system's small stature. It's not necessarily earth shattering but will fill a bedroom or kitchen.
The system is incredibly easy to install and operate, while sound quality is a cut above the typical docks. It's easy to appreciate the audiophile company's more cultured sound with expressive detail, superb integration and a real sense of rhythmical timing. Low frequencies are tight and well controlled without overwhelming ambient subtleties -– it's simply a classy sound.
While it's difficult to fault the Picoforte 1's sound quality, we do have our doubts about the two-part design of the amplifier and dock/charger. All the necessary cables to connect the two and the speakers are supplied but it seems to expose unsightly cables, which detract from the otherwise clean design -- having a single unit would have been better.
There's also the comparatively high price tag and for the same money you can afford a more substantial system with extra features including digital radio or alarm facilities. Still, few of those systems can offer the same stylish design and outstanding sound quality.
While some iPod docks are more concerned with convenience, KEF's Picoforte 1 is dedicated to audiophile sound quality -- and the difference is evident. The super-stylish design delivers a more composed sound than typical docks and also displays decent quality videos and photos, although it's on the expensive side.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday