mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb iPod Dock ReviewPropane - February 11, 2008
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Testing of the mStation Orb 2.1 Stereo was pretty straight forward. The device only really has two main functions, to play your music and to connect it to your computer. The second function, connecting your iPod to your computer, either works or it dosen't, so it is pretty simple to test. Playing your music, however, can either work well, work okay, or not work at all, and that is what the focus of this section will be.
- mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb
- 30Gb iPod video
Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first. When I plugged in the provided USB cable to the Orb and my computer I was able to connect to my iPod from my computer, however all the iPod controls were deactivated (as is the case when you normally plug an iPod into a computer). However, even though the controls go away when you plug it into your computer, you can still listen to music, but you have to use the remote control to navigate your music.
Now on to the hard stuff; how the Orb sounds. There is really only one way to test such a piece of equipment (without spending tons of money), and that is to listen to some tunes on it. I dropped the iPod in and it let me select what song I wanted to play, just like if I was using my iPod with headphones. Playing music on the Orb sounds pretty good; the bass is pretty solid and the highs crisp and clear. Nevertheless, the Orb has small drivers compared to most higher-end systems, so the Orb won't always sounds quite as nice as good systems or a nice set of headphones.
There are several other minor considerations that you want to take into account before buying something like the Orb. One of these considerations is the ease of use. While the Orb was easy to set up and begin using, it really has nothing useful for it besides just playing music and acting as a dock. There is no clock, no alarm, not even a display telling you volume settings. Most similar products on the market today have these feature and are pretty useful. Not everyone needs these features though, so if you like just having the stereo, more power to you.
Now everything I have said so far has been subjective, but a lot of times having some comparative numbers can really help in a decision like this. To get these numbers, I compared the mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb to an Excalibur Electronics iBlaster alarm clock. The two products will be compared to each other on their common points: Quality of sound, ease of use, and styling of the product on a 0-100 scale.
If you are one of those studious types, you will see that the average score for each of these products is the same.