Is it just us, or is Philips garnering more interest now for its "manscaping" personal grooming appliances and less interest for its home audio?
We'd be lying if we said we weren't secretly hoping for a shaver when this package arrived from Philips. Instead we took delivery of the DC350, an iPod/iPhone speaker dock with a built-in FM radio and alarm clock, and while this may not keep you looking beach-ready, it can wake you in time to groom before you leave for the office, we suppose.
The design of the DC350 — standard speaker towers on either side of the iPod docking station — is functional but not particularly interesting and is constructed entirely from plastic. A large LED display sits above the dock which helps you keep track of the time, the current FM radio station or the music source. This can be important as the DC350 sports a range of connectivity options.
Firstly there's the obvious, an iPod/iPhone connection located front and centre. On the rear of the speakers you'll find a 3.5mm headphone socket for connecting the vast range of other MP3 players on the market. There's also a mini USB connection (with a cable in the box), which you can use to sync your iPhone with iTunes whilst it's docked in the DC350. Apple products will also charge while connected. Those after a truly wireless experience can make use of the built-in Bluetooth radio. The DC350 supports the A2DP stereo audio and AVRCP remote control protocols, so you can keep your iPhone in hand while streaming your music to the dock.
The sound quality of the DC350 is its downfall, especially at its AU$299.95 price point. On your bedside table or beside the computer on your desk, the DC350's tinny delivery of sound is probably fine but it won't do for people looking for music to be played across large rooms. Dance music aficionados will be disappointed any which way, as the lack of bass really shows through when playing music that rely on the low end. We tested the DC350 side by side with the Cygnett Maestro, and while the Maestro lacks the extra features of the DC350, it blows it away with the richness of its sound — and for nearly half the price.
The Philips DC350 might have all the bells and whistles of a full-featured iPod dock, but its sound quality is not equal to its AU$300 RRP. Perhaps you might feel that Bluetooth and PC synchronisation come before sharp clean sound, but for us this is a speaker system first and as such the DC350 falls well short of our expectations.