Apple’s decision to change the connection in the iPhone 5 and 6 annoyed a lot of people. Having finally replaced all the CD players in my house with docking stations I was all set for the digital music revolution. The advent of the lighting connector meant that I needed to replace all these docks. Sure, I can use adaptors but that is really only a temporary solution. Hesitant to spend hundreds on new tech, I thought I would look at the lower end of the market for new docking stations.
My priorities were the bedroom and the kitchen as the living room was covered with the Naim Mu-So. My budget was £50/$75 or less so I went for the Atazom Home Hub at £50 and the Kitsound XDock 2 at £35/$50. Both had lighting connectors and were only FM radios and not digital radios. I decided that my iPhone had access to more digital radio stations than any digital radio so I would save myself some money and go for FM only.
AZATOM HOME HUB
The Azatom HomeHub was the more expensive of the two and you certainly get more for your money. The home hub come with remote control, 3.5mm audio cable and iPad cradle meaning it can be used with both iPhones and iPads. The connector comes on a rotating plate which can be easily stowed when not in use. The Bluetooth functionality is fantastic has a tested range of over 10 metres. I know this as I wanted to listen to some music whilst in the shower, so I hit Spotify up for some funky tunes only to hear them in the downstairs kitchen… Thankfully I was only accessing music… Anyway, you should always make sure that your dock has Bluetooth as it separate the standard docks from wireless speakers.
Talking of speakers, the home hub is more speaker than anything else. The front has a large LCD screen with the time, date and input on. The 30 Watt speaker offers great stereo sound for the price bracket and uses bass ports for a nice deep bass sound.
On top, the home hub enjoys a nice big snooze button, settings buttons, navigation buttons and volume control. It all feels a little plasticy but no enough that it will worry you. Whether this is by your bed, on a window sill or proudly displayed in the living room, the Azatom Home Hub works well as both alarm clock and wireless speaker and is one of the most affordable on the market. If you are happy to overlook the lack of digital radio stations and the additional iPad stand attachment then this is a fantastic bit of tech.
The Kitsound XDock sits at the low end of the price spectrum at only £35 and whilst there a few cheaper products from Azatom there are very few docks in this price bracket.
The first thing that catches your eye with this one is the design. The XDock 2 has a sleek matt finish that comes in five colours; Traditional black, clean white, hot pink, electric blue and vibrant purple. The front has a smooth curved edge and gloss finished screen that really stands out. The dock itself is made for the iPhone 5 and 6 and they sit snugly on the lightning connector and rests gentle on a small foam pillow. Sadly, this snug fit comes at a price as it will not fit the iPhone 6 plus or iPad. Similarly, if you have any kind of case on your phone this can get in the way and may need to be removed completely. Currently, this sits by my bed charging my phone at night and waking me up in the morning which it does well. So if this is all you are looking for in a radio/alarm clock with dock then this will suit you perfectly.
If however you are looking for any DAB radio features or Bluetooth connectivity you won’t find it here. The XDock doesn’t do much but what it does, it does well. The sound from the speaker is perfectly passable and whilst it doesn’t shake the room with its bass power it certainly has enough juice to wake you up in the morning. The back has an AV input port but it doesn’t come with a cable.
The buttons on top control the mode, volume and menu buttons and the whilst the ‘snooze’ (or Shhhh!) button is the biggest it is only the size of the end of my finger so easily missed when half asleep. However, functionally, it works perfectly and despite its angled design the kids or I haven’t knocked it over yet.
Overall, the Kitsound XDock 2 clock radio speaker dock is just that, nothing more, nothing less. The design is sleek and modern and the additional colours will definitely appeal to the younger market its lifespan is limited due to the lack of Bluetooth and inability to work with anything bigger than an iPhone 5/6. However, the price is fantastic for such as good looking speaker dock so if its just an alarm clock that charges your phone is what you are after this will suit you fine.