The Eton Soulra is unique. Its solar panel and rubberized chassis suggest that it is perfect for the great outdoors, but the solar charging time is lengthy compared with playback time, and its performance is constrained by its low amplifier power. Much like solar power itself, the Soulra will find its devotees, but it's not a dock for everyone.
The Gear4 SoundOrb Aurora wins the unconventional design award in this competition. You'll either love or hate its look. It proved to be a little over the top for me (especially the domed subwoofer), and the novelty of the subwoofer light show soon wore off. But its sound quality is fine, and the sub's wireless connection is an undeniable asset.
The Harman Kardon Go + Play Micro presents a dilemma. Its awkward iPod navigation and adequate but hardly outstanding sound quality are drawbacks. In the plus column, you have that stainless steel handle. I don't think I've ever seen a portable player with such a commanding hardware presence: The simply terrific styling makes this player a shoo-in for MoMA.
The iP3 Studio Series is yet another solid winner from iHome. It offers refined styling, a good feature set, and unusually good fidelity. Of these four docks, the iP3 was the best-sounding overall, and I imagine it would stack up well against any other desktop system. If you like your music loud and have also got an eye for style, this dock is hard to beat.
I really admired Logitech's low-cost S715i because of its expert melding of form and function. This small package is beautifully put together, and its travel-size design doesn't rob it of bass. For its diminutive size, sound quality is quite good. If you're on the go, this is the dock for you.
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