img_1815

No, we don’t like James Morrison…

The built in iPod / iPhone speakers are great. Great when your out in the town and want to share your music. But when your in your home or workspace, and wish to play your music at a reasonable volume and for several hours on the go, then the iPhone will let you down. Speaker quality degrades the higher the volume and depending on the surface it’s resting on – and then there’s the problem of Mr “I can’t last more than 4 hours continuously” iPhone battery. You could stick in the earphones, but again quality isn’t great and the buds aren’t exactly up there in terms of comfort.

You need something to dock your iPhone with, something to take the audio output from the device, and juice it up to a quality level, giving you real bass and much louder playback. You need a speaker for your iPhone. Luckily, we have one on review today, the Philips SBD7500.

How does it work?

img_1839

Next to an iPhone..

As an Apple fan, I expect a lot from my gadget accessories. I expect gadgets to just work, as does Apple tech. By that I mean I want something that simply plugs in and plays. The Philips doesn’t disappoint here, because within 10 seconds of opening the box, you can be charging your iPhone / iPod AND listening to some music. Which is totally brilliant! All you do is plug in the AC adapter into a mains plug, dock your iPhone / iPod on the iPod connector (or via the audio cable provided) and your good to go. That’s really all there is to it – which is great because I hate 3 hour set-up guides and all that go with that.

img_1845

The stand is hidden when retracted. This pic also shows the glossy finish, which can attract dust and finger prints, but looks slick.

Build Quality & Style

The SBD7500 again has to meet my very high expectation of gadgets. That is, I want everything to look and feel quality, as per my Apple tech. The Phillips doesn’t disappoint here. I’ve noticed a lot of manufacturers of these type of accessories can sway to what I call more of a ‘Windows’ styling. That is, adding nasty lumps and bumps of moulded plastic in order to make it look cool, but instead making you hate the product even more. Not this one! I’m pretty sure if Apple had designed a speaker / dock for their line-up, it would look similar. Philips have done a great job in the styling and build quality.

img_1846

That’s how reflective it is. Looks cool though…

In the hand, it feels light, but not overly light. It doesn’t feel flimsy or wobbly, which is good because it could be holding $500 of iPhone. The speaker itself is shaped like a large lozenge, with a glossy black finish on the rear, and some minor chrome detailing / buttons dotted about. The AC adapter in and audio in / out (hokey, kokey, kokey) have a small, matte finish surround, presumably to avoid scratching whilst trying to locate the plugs without looking (i.e from the front). That’s a nice little touch.

img_1824

The stand folds away to form part of the closed lozenge shape, when carrying it for example, and folds out to provide a good, solid base. To deploy the stand, you simply push the stands upper center. This then forces the stand outwards,. Cleverly this does away with the need for latches or a grabbing edge. The design of the case is much better for that, as there are very few elements to detract from the overall design. Nothing on this gadget is there to look pretty or add design prowess, but simply to serve a function. And for that, I think it looks great on any desk or tabletop.

img_1820

SBD 7500 tag-teaming Spotify to make the ultimate music machine!

Size

The speaker is well sized, both in how it looks and sounds. It’s approximately a foot long, but 4 or 5 inch high. It’s around 1.5 inch thick, meaning it should fit pretty much anywhere you have space. Philips have packed in great sound quality for such a modestly sized speaker.

img_1813

This picture shows the speaker in situ and scale with an iPhone 3GS

img_1817

Chrome detailing adds a little iPhone like bling

Features

Powerful Sound
• Dynamic Bass Boost electronically enhances the low tones
• Class ‘D’ digital amplifier for quality sound performance

Always ready to go
• AC adapter lets you power up at home.
• Mobile phone shielding technology means static-free sound

Share your music anywhere
• Power your speakers with batteries when you are on the go.

Sound
• Frequency response: 100–20,000 Hz
• Sound Enhancement: Dynamic Bass Boost
• Impedance: 4 ohm
• RMS Power rating: 10 W
• Sensitivity: 80 dB

Convenience
• Power on indication
• Volume control
Accessories
• AC/DC Adapter

Power
• Battery type: LR6

Carrying Case –  a sturdy, neoprene feel case is included too. This is quite spongy and offers good protection for the speakers.

All this from a $99 device. Not bad ey?

Sound Quality

So we’ve established that the Philips SBD 7500 looks good and feels good in the hand. It’s a well built iPod accessory from a large and well respected company. But now we hit the real test. The sound quality. Testing sound and then talking about it is difficult, but we are going to do our best in order to give you the most accurate picture possible of the product’s output.

Firstly,  you have the option to turn on the DBB, which visibly gives the track more bass. This is a more realistic viewing experience, as opposed to this been turned off, when the song sounds flatter (something you only notice when playing with the switches). At full volume the speakers maintain quality, and it’s very loud. Set at around medium is quite fine for working to. The actual sound is very crisp, there’s not a whiff of crackle or distortion. It’s very, very impressive.

We tested the speakers with Spotify (which is not known for it’s amazing sound quality as songs are streamed over mobile web) but it sounded very clear, which we we’re impressed with. Combining such a device with an app like Spotify means you have a portable bank of almost every song ever produced, and a means to play those songs with a high quality piece of kit. I really, really like this speaker. It looks great, works great and is very well priced.

img_1819

Don’t laugh at the Editors choice of music….

Conclusion

I really can’t think of anything else you’d want from a speaker that the Philips doesn’t have. Sound buffs will love it’s quality, the price challenged will love it’s $99 selling price and Apple fans all over will love the ability to play iTunes / other apps (such as spotify) through an external speaker that offers great sounding music. This is a brilliant piece of kit and will suit anyone from Grandma and her iPod nano to your cousin who rocks out to AC/DC on his iPod touch!

The SBD7500 is available from Philips and most other good Philips stockists. Click here for more information.

img_1847

The snug fitting travel case protects and stores well. It’s even got a handy carry handle and external pouch for the AC adapter.