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Home > Reviews > MP3 Players > Kensington iPod StereoDock 33164

Kensington iPod StereoDock 33164 Review
12/30/2005 - Updated 1/14/2006

Here's the box. It was a christmas present from my sister. I did some research and most internet sites ,such as Amazon, advertised it as being compatible with the nano. On the front upper right corner of the box, there's a picture of the iPod (4G?) and a mini and it's marked "for iPod®" and "iPod® mini". Hmmm...

What was amusing about the box was this note: "**Requires a home stereo. iPod not included". Duh! It's funny to think that people may actually believe this product includes an iPod, where the manufacturer has to inform us that it does not.

Inside the "kit" box revealed a covered plastic tray (thank goodness it wasn't sealed) and a 1 letter size instruction sheet. Apparently, both the box and instructions were printed in May of 2005, so there was no mention of the nano (which appeared in September 2005).

What's inside

The entire package included:

1 - StereoDock
1 - 7 ft (2.1M) gold-plated RCA output cable
1 - AC power adapter
1 - Remote control (yes, it works with the nano)
2 - AAA batteries (for the remote)
1 - Instruction sheet

Not included: iPod


Remote Control
Back Front
The remote measures 1 11/16" (43 mm) x 2 15/16" (75 mm) x 9/16" (14 mm) thick.

The first thing I did was install the AAA batteries in the remote. Installing batteries in any device is straight forward, at least I think so.

Afterwards I discovered that, when reviewing the instruction sheet, there is no mention of battery installation, so it must be one of those common sense things that one has to do.

StereoDock
Front Rear
 
Bottom  
The dock measures 3" (76 mm) x 3 1/2 " (89 mm) x 3/4" (19 mm) tall. It is 2" (50 mm) tall if you include the wire metal support stand.

On the front of the dock, you'll notice the infrared receiver window. In order to operate the nano using the remote, you will need a clear, unobstructed view of this window. At the rear, you will notice two jacks. The left one is for the RCA cables, and the right one is for power cable.

Checking the fit
Placing my nano on the StereoDock for the first time, I noticed that alignment of the dock connector is critical. After repeated attempts, I've concluded that practice is all that's required.

The nano sits slightly angled to the back, about 5 degrees. Here is where I realized that the metal support stand is for the remote and, is not adjustable to support the nano.

The Power Supply
If there is anything I admire about this product, it would have to be the power supply. Sure it's a brick, but as you can see, it was designed for a simple power strip. It will not take up two, or even three, outlets.

I just wish that other manufacturers will take a look at this and learn. For the moment, way to go Kensington.

Using the StereoDock
Here is my Ipod nano mounted on the StereoDock.
With the StereoDock plugged in, the Kensington on the base lights up with a reddish orange glow. It's neat to look at especially at night, but it makes you wonder how much power it's using and I wish there was a way to turn this off without having to unplug it.

When plugging the nano to the dock, the nano automatically turns on. From the there, you can turn the nano off and let it charge or you can turn on the stereo receiver and play.

Here is my one gripe about my iPod nano, it has a weak line-out signal. After further research, I've discovered that a lot of iPod's, in general, are the same and that is, you have to crank up the gain using the Kensington remote control and the volume on the stereo receiver a few clicks. Increasing the volume on the click wheel does no good because when you are hooked up by the dock connector your using line-out, which is fixed. The same condition exists when using the FM transmitter and the car stereo adapter. My only wish would here would be a gain control on the iPod.

Conclusion
The Kensington 33164 iPod StereoDock is a high quality unit. It is convenient as a charging base and works well with my stereo receiver.

Something I would like to mention here. When playing songs using the earbuds, or car stereo (I have a truck), the quality of the song doesn't seem to matter. When listening to songs with in-ear headphones, or home stereo receiver (and depending on how good your ears are) you will notice the difference in the quality of songs.

Most of the CD's I've imported was using AAC compression at 128 kbps which is suppose to give the smallest file size at the highest quality, therefore you'll be able to cram 1000 or more songs in your nano (4 GB). Recently, I've been re-importing my songs using MP3 compression at 192 kbps and, for my ears, there is quite an improvement in sound quality, but the downside is larger file sizes and fewer songs you can cram into your iPod (about 700 songs instead of 1000). But, I can live with that.

:-)

Gary Kawamura
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