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Flexible dock

The JBL Onbeat is a compact iPod dock. The design is attractive, with the two drivers peeking from either side of the dock and the branding in the centre. But buttons are made of plastic and don’t feel too solid.

india Updated: May 08, 2011 17:17 IST
Rossi Fernandes

The JBL Onbeat is a compact iPod dock. The design is attractive, with the two drivers peeking from either side of the dock and the branding in the centre. But buttons are made of plastic and don’t feel too solid.

An arm that holds the socket allows you to attach and swivel your iPod or iPad. There are also two panels that fit onto the centre of the dock and bring stability when you move the iPod or the iPad horizontally. The bundled remote control is tiny, extremely light and powered by a button cell.

In terms of connectivity, the JBL Onbeat has a 3.5mm audio jack that lets you to connect other audio sources. A composite video output port is also present.

The Onbeat performs very well for its size. JBL states that the dock has a total power output of 15W. Although the Onbeat is not bass heavy, it’s loud and has natural sound. Separation isn’t as clear as discrete speakers, but JBL has tried to point each speaker driver slightly away from the centre. Unfortunately, there is distortion when you raise the volume beyond 70 per cent.

The remote control works well with an iPhone or iPod, but when you plug in an iPad, you really need to get close to the dock for it to work properly. Not all of the controls work flawlessly either. Users will need to set the iPod to audio playback mode for some features to work. The Onbeat can also output video to a TV using the composite connection. But quality isn’t impressive. We also noticed audio synchronisation errors.

Verdict
The JBL Onbeat isn’t flawless. Its natural sound signature is good but it lacks punch in the lower frequency range. Pricewise, it’s not cheap either at Rs 9,990. If you have an iPad, then this is an option you could consider. But if you use an iPod or an iPhone, there are better products in the market.

Rating: ***