Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NAD raises the quality bar for iPod docks

Given how popular iPod docks have become in recent years, it’s surprising that hi-fi specialist NAD has taken so long to launch one of its own – but its new Viso 1 system has been well worth that wait. In fact, it’s good enough to worry class-leaders such as the Geneva Model M, which is some achievement for a first-time effort.

Of course, not being the first to market does have its advantages, and it’s clear that NAD has spent a lot of time poring over its competitors’ efforts to help hone its own product. If you can see hints of the B&W Zeppelin in the Viso 1’s design, we’re not at all surprised: everyone in the office made precisely the same observation the moment the NAD emerged from its packaging.

That’s not necessarily a disadvantage, mind you. The Zeppelin is a looker, so it follows that the Viso 1 is, too; while it’s surprisingly light, especially compared with the hefty B&W, it certainly looks as upmarket as it ought. As an added bonus, its slightly squarer proportions (48cm wide and 26cm high, against 64cm and 17cm for the Zeppelin) mean it occupies a smaller proportion of your desk, shelf or table.

The Viso 1’s docking cradle provides further evidence of NAD’s thorough benchmarking. Like the similar assembly on the B&W Zeppelin Mini, the Viso 1’s can rotate through 90 degrees to allow for landscape orientation of your iPhone or iPod Touch, a desirable asset for fans of iTunes’ Cover Flow feature. But here, it’s made all the more attractive because NAD has incorporated a clever clamping mechanism to lock your portable in place, avoiding the unwelcome ‘sagging’ effect that can afflict the Zepplein Mini’s dock.

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