Great viewing angles; powerful speakers; broad range of motion
Bass heavy; no rechargeable batteries
Scosche’s US$150 BassDock is a stand and speaker dock specifically designed for the iPad and compatible with all three generations of it. The adjustable dock cradle holds the iPad for convenient viewing while also charging it and grabbing the iPad’s audio for playback through the BassDock’s built-in speakers.
The BassDock’s rounded-corners base is approximately 18cms square and about 8cms tall and is made of black metal and plastic with some brushed-metal trim. The bottom of the iPad cradle, which hosts a 30-pin dock connector, sits another 5cms above that.
The bare cradle fits the original iPad perfectly. If you have an iPad 2 or a third-generation iPad, however, you’ll need to attach a few included plastic adapters to the cradle. They snap into place easily and once you’ve attached them, you needn’t worry about them anymore. Whichever iPad you have, you’ll need to remove any case or Smart Cover in order to get it to fit in the cradle. Once in the cradle, your iPad is snug and secure.
The BassDock lets you adjust the cradle for various degrees of tilt, though I found the tilting mechanism frustratingly stiff. You can certainly get the angle you’re after, but it seems much more difficult to move than it ought to be. You can also rotate the cradle between portrait and landscape orientation. There’s a broad enough range of motion that I was able to find a number of positions that worked well for me. The screen is fully accessible and the upside to that tight tilting mechanism is that the BassDock and your iPad stay put as you merrily tap away on the screen.
On the front of the BassDock sit three small, plastic buttons: Volume Down, Power and Volume Up. You can also use the iPad’s own volume buttons to adjust the sound level. The BassDock’s buttons are backlit with blue when the unit is powered on; the system cleverly turns on whenever you dock your iPad. On the back of the base is a connection for the included AC adapter port and an auxiliary line-in jack for listening to another audio source.
The BassDock employs a pair of 4cms stereo speakers, along with a single 8cm woofer. The BassDock’s audio quality is good, but it – as the system’s name may suggest – has a bit too much of an emphasis on bass for my taste. That bass isn’t room-shaking, but it’s big and heavy and in your face, so it feels a bit out of whack in comparison to the midrange and treble. That said, I was impressed with the speaker’s overall oomph in terms of volume and auditory muscle.
A feature that would have been useful, but isn’t included, is a rechargeable battery. Though the BassDock is a bit too large to be truly portable, it’s easy enough to move from room to room or to take to the back yard – I’d love it if I could cart it around the house without needing to bring along a power supply or have a power outlet nearby.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
I enjoyed docking my iPad in the BassDock while testing it for this review. It offers great viewing angles and its integrated speakers are tremendously more powerful than the iPad’s built in speakers. The system’s bass is a little heavy, but some might like the extra bump – and to be fair, I liked listening to my iPad in the BassDock more than I fretted over the heavy bass presence. Though I’d have preferred the option of battery power, it’s a solid speaker system, viewing stand and charging dock for the iPad.