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Sharp i-Elegance Music System DK-AP7N review: Sharp i-Elegance Music System DK-AP7N

Sharp i-Elegance Music System DK-AP7N

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read

Sharp is known for its LCD TVs, but it also makes some audio products. The DK-AP7N portable iPod speaker, which retails for around $99, is part of the company's i-Elegance line.


Sharp i-Elegance Music System DK-AP7N

The Good

Stylish, compact, portable iPod speaker sounds decent for being so small; powered by AC adapter or four AA batteries; video output (for compatible iPods); protective covers for both the speaker and AC adapter are included.

The Bad

Distorts at higher volumes; no GSM shielding for iPhones; no remote, clock, or radio.

The Bottom Line

While it's a bit pricey, the sleek design of the Sharp i-Elegance DK-AP7N sets it apart from more mundane portable iPod speakers.

The little speaker measures 2.6 inches tall by 7.5 inches wide by 2.8 inches deep and feels substantial enough, weighing 1.4 pounds. It has two drivers, a built-in subwoofer, and a sort of capsule design that cracks open like a clamshell to reveal the iPod dock and drivers (the design is reminiscent of the Creative TravelDock 900).

Both opened and closed the system looks pretty sleek, and we liked how the high-gloss black finish on the exterior juxtaposes with the alternate finish of the interior. (The DK-AP7N is available with either white or red interiors.) We appreciated that Sharp threw in protective covers for both the main unit and the AC adapter. That way, if you stow the unit in a backpack or other bag, you'll avoid scratching that nice finish.

The system accepts virtually all iPods and iPhones, as it comes with the requisite sleeves that snap into the dock to make your particular iPod fit snuggly into it. There's no GSM shielding, so you'll have to put your iPhone in airplane mode (turn off the cell radio) or risk running into some interference noise.

If you were hoping for an AM/FM radio or a clock, you'll have to look elsewhere. Likewise, there's not even a basic remote, but you do get a basic (read: yellow plug) composite video output for viewing iPod videos on a TV (cable not included) and an auxiliary audio input for connecting other audio devices, portable DVD players, or a laptop.

The DK-AP7N is powered by an AC adapter or four AA batteries (not included), which gives you about 8 hours of run time. The instructions say not to use rechargeable batteries in the unit, but we don't see why they wouldn't work.

Overall, the sound was decent for a unit this small. Yes, the DK-AP7N sounded a bit tinny and distorted at higher volumes, but the little speakers offered decent clarity at more restrained sound levels and enough bass to keep tracks from sounding too thin.

Sharp included a bit of sound expansion circuitry in the DK-AP7N called "ESound." The button to the left of the dock engages it (three lights come on), but we're not sure why you'd ever turn it off, because the sound quality diminishes considerably when ESound is deactivated.

At $99, we can't say the DK-AP7N is a steal, but if you're looking for a very compact, stylish, portable speaker for your iPod or laptop that doesn't sound half bad (and can be used at home, too, with AC power), this little Sharp is definitely worth checking out.


Sharp i-Elegance Music System DK-AP7N

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 6Performance 6