Review – DLO HomeDock

DLO HomeDockI finally received the DLO HomeDock that I ordered. I quickly set it up and began to test what it could do.

Using the supplied cables, I was quickly able to hook it into my stereo and lush music filled my apartment. Music sounds good, with 60gb at my disposal… Check. It charges my iPod while it plays the music. Check

My next step was to test out the small, iPod-ish remote. I sat down on my couch and clicked away. Despite some initial fussiness, the remote worked well. There are buttons for power, volume up & down, previous & next track, play/pause, next & previous & next playlist, shuffle, mute, repeat and backlight (on your iPod). To navigate through your music, the best way is still to manually do it on your iPod. Using the remote to find a playlist would call for you to sit there and press either the previous or next playlist buttons repeatedly until your desired one was found… There is also no visual feedback on the control itself, so you have to be able to see the iPod’s screen to recognize album art, song names, etc… That said, if you know what you’re listening to and wish for simple navigation the little infrared remote does a very capable job.

My next test was to try the video out on my TV. This is where I ran into a snag. I hooked it up and tried it with the S-video out cable I had bought… Nothing. I got sound, but no video. I quickly wrote a slightly angry email to DLO complaining about this and asked whether they had tested it before claiming this capability… Now here’s where I point out that I used to work as an IT support guy. I know better than to hurriedly jump to these conclusions… It took a patient reply from the DLO folks to point out that the new iPods have a Video Out setting in the Video menu. After a moment of red-faced embarrassment (a very, very short moment, mind you) I set it to On and tested it. Wow. It looked better than I had hoped. The video out (assuming you have good quality video on your iPod) is TV quality. It looks no different than any show I would normally watch. Definitely impressive. Thumbs up on this.

All in all, I’d give the HomeDock an enthusiastic thumbs up. The only snag I’d like to mention has to do with a $57 (CDN) bill I had to pay upon receiving shipment via UPS. They hadn’t mentioned that customs would tack this onto a shipment from our neighbours to the south… This is definitely something that warrants a note somewhere in the payment process. Maybe I’m naive, but I thought computer-related products (and seeing as I can hook it to my computer as a USB 2.0 docking station for the iPod I think it qualifies) were free from this sort of Duty. Other than this, I’m happy with my new toy. 4.5 out of 5 stars for the HomeDock itself. 1 star for the unexpected price jump.

If you can find one at your local Apple store or a Future Shop/Best Buy to avoid the customs charges, I’d highly recommend giving it a try.