Logic3 i-Station8 Inverness

Logitech's mm50 costs less and sounds better and, if you can live without the LCD and video out, is a better buy. Read this article and know more.

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Logic3 i-Station8

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All too often, product claims made by its manufacturer or distributor are inversely proportional to the quality of the kit on offer. And it seems that iPod accessories are particularly prone.

That, sadly, is certainly the case with the i-Station8. 'It's a must-have for the iPod owner' says the promotional material. We say it's anything but.

For a start, we'll ignore the claims of 'hi-fi quality sound' as the term has become so devalued. Suffice to say, that the sound quality is a long way short of anything we'd expect to hear from what would traditionally be considered a hi-fi. On its own that's not a huge problem for an iPod speaker system; most of us wouldn't expect that level of quality from anything connected to an iPod. However, the audio quality is also short of other comparably priced iPod speaker systems.

Part of the problem is the emphasis on bass. The i-Station8 has eight 2-Watt speakers plus an 8-Watt 'bass radiator', which sits behind the iPod and is about two inches deep. The effect is like being on the outside of a Ford Capri with one of those ridiculously loud car stereos on full volume and all the windows shut. The treble and mid-ranges are there, and they do make their presence felt occasionally, but mostly they're drowned out by the incessant 'badaboom' of the bass radiator.

The poor audio quality is all the more disappointing because the i-Station8 has some neat features, including the ability to display the name of the currently playing track on its LCD, and buttons on the remote control that enable you to step between albums and playlists as well as individual tracks. Both these features need a fourth generation iPod or later.

Other good features are a line-in jack, S-Video and composite video connectors for displaying photos and videos on a TV, a dock connector so you sync your iPod, and built-in rechargeable batteries.

Build quality is as disappointing as the audio. The shiny plastic looks and feels like, well, shiny plastic. The flip-down dock is flimsy and seems like it would break easily, and the exposed speaker cones have no protection against small children or enthusiastic pets.

Despite the LCD track display and bass radiator, there's just not enough in the i Station8 to justify its £100 price tag. Logitech's mm50 costs less and sounds better and, if you can live without the LCD and video out, is a better buy. At higher price levels, the Altec Lansing InMotion 9 is more rugged, and looks and sounds better. Either of these systems would be a better choice than the iStation8, despite its additional features.
Build quality is as disappointing as the audio.

Author: Kenny Hemphill

Logic3 i-Station8