First Looks Special: Kensington SX2000 Speakers
Fresh at the iLounge labs: Kensington’s SX2000 Speakers ($160), the second iPod speaker system we’ve received that claims support for Apple’s “Universal Dock” standard. Here are a few pictures and details to bring you up to speed before our review.
SX2000 is a flat-panel speaker system based on NXT technology - which we’ve heard in the past, and not been especially impressed by. This particular implementation appears to be better than the last NXT we tested (Monster’s iSpeaker Portable) on audio quality, but still not mind-blowing. In a list of features, Kensington notes that the speaker features “bi-directional” technology (the ability to play audio from its back or front) - put it in the middle of a room and you’ll hear audio from both sides. The rear of the unit also includes a port for auxiliary audio input - devices other than docking iPods can connect through this if you have your own cable.
The SX2000 system is also capable of outputting stereo sound - we’ve tested it and heard it, though the stereo field appears to be shallow, and isn’t being touted as a strength of the device. Rather, Kensington is focusing on iits “superior frequency response (better highs and lows) at higher volumes than similar speaker systems.” We’ll have to see. It’s a 16.2” wide unit, and non-portable, putting it in competition with a lot of other speakers that have recently been released.
A major selling point, potentially, is the unit’s stated compatibility with Apple’s Universal Dock standard, which is designed to let people use plastic inserts that come with all new iPods to guarantee a perfect docking connection. Our unit had mixed results with the Apple Dock Adapters we tested, working properly with most, but not all. Specifically, Dock Adapters 9 and 10 (for 5G 30 and 60GB iPods) would not fit inside the SX2000’s dock. You can still connect a 5G iPod, but the molded Dock Adapter will not be as useful here.
Each SX2000 comes with a wall power adapter, two Dock Adapters (one for iPod mini, and one for 20GB/30GB color iPods), and the speaker unit. An iPod shuffle adapter, called the Accessory Adapter for iPod shuffle, will be sold separately for approximately $20. The SX2000 and Accessory Adapter will be in stores in mid-November and January 31, respectively.
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