Boston Acoustics MC200 Air
Boston Acoustics, www.bostonacoustics.com
Its small footprint and slim design make this Boston a tempting option for the nooks and crannies around your home, although you’re sacrificing a few advanced streaming options.
Despite its appearance, this Boston doesn’t include an iPod dock, but you can play music from an iPod via USB or play audio from practically any device via the 3.5mm auxiliary input (which could include an iPhone cradle with an audio output). You’ll also find a headphone jack on the side.
As for networking, the Boston features an Ethernet port and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi (but no 5GHz) – letting you treat it as an AirPlay or DLNA wireless speaker. It managed to play music in sync with our Apple Airport Express as part of our AirPlay multi-room audio tests, which is impressive because third- party AirPlay gear often struggles to stay in sync.
Strangely you need to press the Boston’s Air button to switch between AirPlay and DLNA mode, whereas most wireless speakers can make this switch automatically. The Boston’s basic remote control and lack of LCD screen means you can’t browse the contents of your home DLNA server and you can’t access internet radio or subscription services like Spotify. The workaround is to access such content on an iGadget and then use AirPlay to send the audio to the Boston.
This 30-watt unit packs two 3.5in speakers which deliver crisp sound and don’t distort at high volumes, although it’s not as loud as the competition and the low end could be a little richer. The MC220 Air features wall-mounting points on the back, but it might feel a little undersized for medium-to- large rooms.
Its slim design could make the Boston a good fit for your bedside table, kitchen bench or bathroom; however, you’ll find other devices in this price range with extra features like an iPod dock, FM radio or CD player.