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".
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
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
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.
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
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
|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
I just wish that other manufacturers will take a look at this and
learn. For the moment, way to go Kensington.
|Using 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.
|Here is my Ipod nano mounted on
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.
|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.