Around this time last year we looked at the i-deck and weren't that impressed, so when the i-deck Plus appeared we eyed it with some suspicion.
We were pleasantly surprised. This time around the unit is a nice glossy black in colour, and the build quality seems very good, with very much the feel of an expensive speaker system. Setting up is very easy: simply connect the speakers to the main unit and plug it into the mains. The power supply has shrunk in size, which is a good thing, and the unit comes supplied with snap-in dock adaptors to suit most of Apple's iPod range.
So what does the 'Plus' mean? This year's model boasts an integrated AM/FM tuner, with six presets, and a blue backlit display for RDS radio text. We like having an FM tuner, but why not DAB? That said, the FM reception was good, and.
The unit's sound overall was also very good, with warm vocals, a good level of detail and bass that slammed. Why, Crave's collective booty was shaking all over the office. As you'd expect, however, it's still not quite on a par with micro-type hi-fi systems. The 15W per channel claim seemed about right for this type of unit, and when we cranked the volume it was more than loud enough, with no obvious distortion.
The i-deck Plus is a perfectly fine iPod dock. The remote now works flawlessly, you can use it to synchronise your iPod with a Mac or PC, and it even has outputs for composite and S-Video. You can buy it direct from i-deck for £199. At that price you'll have plenty of alternatives, but we reckon the i-deck Plus should be on your audition list. -CD