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Christmas Gift Guide

Philips DS1155 Docking Speaker review:

An iPhone 5 speaker dock with a sleek design

One feature that's missing is an audio input for connecting other audio devices. That means you can't use this as a speaker for your PC, which is too bad.

There's a USB port on back for charging other mobile devices. Sarah Tew/CNET

On a more positive note, the design of the Lightning connector on the Philips is better than the JBL's. The docking post tilts, but it's spring-loaded, so your device is automatically pushed back against the translucent stand in the middle of the dock and stays in place. With the JBL, your device can end up flopping around a little if you move the speaker.

I'd be a little concerned about knocking into that plastic stand. While it seems firmly embedded in the speaker, it is made of plastic and could crack or break off if you knock something into it or drop the dock on a hard floor.

Like the JBL OnBeat Micro, the Philips sounded better than I thought it would. It plays pretty loud for its size, filling a small room with sound. As with a lot of these smaller speakers, it tends to be strongest in the midrange and it sounds best playing acoustic material from about 3 feet away, which is why it makes for a decent bedside speaker.

The dock without a device. Sarah Tew/CNET

While I thought the Philips was decent for its size, the JBL clearly beat it in side-by-side tests. The JBL offered sound that was a bit fuller and clearer, with more bass. It also played a little louder, but with all smaller speakers of this type, you're best off listening to them at more moderate volume levels, as they tend to sound strained, even harsh, at higher volumes.

The speaker dock from the side. Sarah Tew/CNET

I liked this Philips speaker and thought it offered a good balance of attractive industrial design and decent-enough sound, and a couple of nice extras (the USB port for charging additional mobile devices and the ring of light at the base of the unit).

This unit costs about $10 less than the JBL OnBeat Micro and has a sleeker design. But the JBL is a step up in sound quality and it is a more versatile speaker dock, with an audio input for PC speakers and a battery-powered option. (Philips' step-up DS3205 dock has these features but not a USB port.) I favor the JBL slightly, but I would also recommend the Philips DS1155, particularly if you find the design appealing and you really are planning to stick it on a nightstand beside your bed.

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