Home' LAPTOP Magazine : March 2011 Contents Whether you’re hoping to groove out to your music while doing
some household chores or simply want a volume boost for
your tunes, a powerless dock for your iPhone is the simplest,
most hassle-free solution. While these speakers don’t charge your
phone, they do provide a bump of up to 13 decibels in volume. These
three passive accessories conduct and amplify sound waves from
your iPhone’s speaker. Plus, they never run out of energy. Read on
to see which powerless dock had us dancing.
Turn up the volume on your iPhone with an affordable and powerful amplifier.
by Sarah Silbert
❷ Clingo Parabolic Sound Sphere
w w w.clingo.com
With a chic and user-friendly design, the
Clingo Parabolic Sound Sphere looks
good, but it didn’t do much to pump up
To amplify your phone’s volume, attach
it to the sphere’s sticky green center.
Note: Stickiness became less effective
with repeated use.
At 8 x 8 x 5.2 inches and 1.2 pounds,
the Sound Sphere is too bulky for travel.
But the shape helps cut out ambient light,
so the accessory makes an attractive stand
for watching media.
Clingo claims its spherical speaker
will boost your iPhone’s volume by up to
10 decibels. On our tests, this was not
the case—with a few exceptions. The
accessory cranked Audionom’s “Kein
Bock” from 78dB up to 94dB. But music
with softer instrumentals didn’t sound as
clear. In general, even when music was
loud, it sounded muffled.
The Clingo Parabolic Sphere offers an
attractive design and a convenient dock,
but this $34.99 accessory doesn’t boost
your audio much.
Works with variety of MP3 players/
Can charge your device while
Pad loses stickiness over time
Muffled sound quality depending on
❸ Griffin AirCurve Play
Griffin’s AirCurve Play offers
an impressive sound boost like
no other unpowered amplifier
we tested. Made of hard clear plastic, this
passive 11.2-ounce dock measures 5 x 1.6
x 6.9 inches. The iPhone 4 fits snugly in
a removable rubber sleeve in the center.
Griffin also sells a model that’s compatible
with the iPhone 3G/3GS.
When the iPhone 4 is docked, you must
make sure that its speaker is aligned with a
small hole in the AirCurve. You’ll know it’s
correct if you can access all the buttons on
the phone. Bulky cases must be removed.
A metal kickstand lets you rest the dock in
either landscape or portrait mode.
Using an internal “coiled waveguide horn,”
which channels and amplifies the sound
from your iPhone’s speakers, the Griffin
AirCurve Play claims to add 10 decibels to
your tunes. Unlike the other speakers we
tested, this device consistently provided
more volume than its manufacturer prom-
ised. When we blasted Haddaway’s “What
Is Love,” the speaker added a whopping
14 decibels to the dance classic (76dB
versus 90dB). However, don’t expect the
richest, fullest sound.
In the end, the Griffin AirCurve Play is
the best bet for iPhone 4 owners looking
for louder audio without any additional
batteries or wires.
Stand for both vertical and horizontal
Adds huge volume boost
Slightly muddled sound quality
❶ Bone Collection Horn Stand $24.95
Looking like an old-school gramophone,
the Bone Collection Horn Stand offers an
impressive sound boost.
Available in black, green, light brown,
and white, the uniquely designed dock is
compatible with the original iPhone, the
iPhone 3G/3GS, and the iPhone 4. We like
its soft-touch, rubbery texture. The Horn
Stand’s light weight (just 3.2 ounces) makes
it easy to toss in your jacket pocket.
This accessory can hold an iPhone both
vertically and horizontally; while it can ac-
commodate a rubber iPhone 4 bumper,
bulkier cases will have to be removed first.
We could still connect our sync cable, but
it caused the amplifier to tip over.
The Bone Horn increase the iPhone’s
sound by as much as 13 decibels. “Hong
Kong Garden” by Siouxsie and the Ban-
shees registered 8 decibels louder than
without the dock, and the amplifier reliably
boosted every song we played. However,
this accessory has a limited range. Ad-
ditionally, we detected a fair amount of
tinniness when using the speaker, and
bass-heavy tracks often sounded muffled
Overall, the Bone Collection Horn
Stand offers a clever, compact way to
boost your tunes.
Amplifies audio considerably
Sound tinny at max volume
Click to play video
See these iPod amplifiers
Laptop | March 2011
Links Archive February 2011 April 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page