CNET First Look
Phillips DS8500 Fidelio DockPhilips' Fidelio iPod/iPhone speaker dock is a good value with impressive sound and a solid,attractive design.
-Hey, I'm Donald Bell, and today, we're taking a first look at the Fidelio DS8500 speaker dock. At first glance, there's not much to it. You get a place to dock your iPhone or your iPod, a volume rocker right below it, and ports for power and AUX input on the back. The front is covered in a gray cloth, and the back is constructed from a single piece of curved white plastic. But I gotta say, for a simple and mundane as this thing looks, it's actually one of the better iPod systems I've seen from Philips. Little design details help, like the volume buttons that light up when you get close to them, or a dock connection that can deal with the fact that you might have a case on your iPod or your iPhone. You also get a full-feature remote control that can navigate through menus. The remote doesn't have great range, but it is useful and the design is big and bright, making it hard to lose. But the big deal here is the sound. For a system priced just under $200, you're getting a loud, deep sound with lots of headroom. Compared to similar-priced systems from Altec Lansing or Logitech, you're getting much more bass in this system, which I credit to 2 things. First, the Fidelio is relatively thick with a ported enclosure that puts a lot of mass directly between the two 2-inch drivers. The second point is Philips' secret weapon, which is an internal DSP that they're branding as pure digital. It takes the digital signal from your iPhone or your iPod instead of the analog output, and optimizes that audio for this specific enclosure. Better yet, if you're using an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you can download the Fidelio app that gives you custom control over the hardware EQ. It's a unique feature and it's more than a gimmick since it actually results in great sound quality. So, that's the Fidelio from Philips. It's one of the best-sounding options out there for under $200, although it lacks the portability of something like the Logitech S715i. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell.