There’s an iPod dock for every room, and the market is so saturated with sizes and brands, that it can be pretty tough to make a choice. For now, let’s talk about JBL’s On Stage Micro, a tiny little entry-level dock.
This dock is so small that you might wonder if it actually lives up to the JBL standard. So does it? Read on to find out.
It's a shiny black (plasticky) little thing with minimal buttons (power and volume) and a battery compartment on the underside for 4 AAA batteries. It also has an AC adapter, an audio in/out, and a mini USB port for linking it up to your computer, as well as a remote. Although they have provided a cable with a 3.5 mm jack for the audio in/out, they haven’t been kind enough to add a cheap Rs. 20 USB cable.
As far as the functionality of the On Stage Micro goes, it is pretty easy to use, just like almost any other iPod Dock. However, while setting up the dock, you may find that the little plastic adapter is hard to remove. But other than that, using this little baby was a breeze. Because the dock itself has very limited functionality, you’ll find it a lot easier to operate your iPod or iPhone with the bundled remote.
Speaking of the remote, the functions are quite standard with the usual volume, play, mute etc. options. The remote makes it a lot easier to operate an iPod/iPhone, so you can kick back and browse through your playlists without having to get up. But one thing I can't figure out is why they have to make the buttons on the remote so damn hard to press. Why not just make it a feather touch?
Now for the part that really counts – the sound. To put it quite straight, it's decent. At three or four notches below maximum volume, the On Stage Micro sounds pretty good, but turn the volume up to max, and you will definitely hear a crackling in the nether frequencies. However this dock is one of the cheaper ones and costs Rs. 4,990, so there's only so much it can do. If you want to make your ears bleed, I'd suggest something a lot bigger.
I also tested this dock with three other devices – an mp3 player, laptop and mobile phone, and although each of these devices have their own distinct sound, they all sounded pretty decent on the On Stage Micro. But of course the crackling sound still persisted at peak volume. I’d recommend, of course, sticking to Apple products to get the best sound quality and benefit from the device. The reason being you can use the remote to its full potential with Apple but no other device. Then again that’s the reason they’re dubbed iPod Docks.
My final verdict is that this dock is good, but not great. You can keep it in your bedroom and listen to it while you're lying down, cleaning or doing whatever it is that you do in your bedroom. You could even use it for some background music when you have some friends over for dinner, but it is certainly not something you'd want to use to entertain a large crowd.
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