First Looks: Ozaki iUFO Dock
Unidentified Flying Dock
iPod and iPhone docking devices are a dime a dozen these days. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and price points. There’s something for everybody. So how does one stand out in this saturated market?
For Ozaki, a company that specializes in accessories for Apple devices, it means being radical. And indeed, the Ozaki iUFO iPod/iPhone dock is one of the most unique-looking docks we’ve seen. As its name suggests, the iUFO dock is saucer shaped, exactly like how an UFO is usually depicted. But it's not the shape that makes it special, but rather what it can do. Allow us to elaborate.
The iUFO is divided into two sections. The outer ring with the grille houses the four speaker drivers, which surrounds what Ozaki calls a “turntable”. This turntable encompasses the docking connector and what’s exceptional about it is that the turntable can be tilted and rotated to align your iPod or iPhone in either portrait or landscape mode.
The angle by which you can tilt your device is too gentle for our liking, and an upright position would have been welcomed because it’ll help make your iPhone or iPod easier to view from a distance. As it is, the remote control is rendered mostly useless because you’ll be hard pressed to see your iPod/iPhone screen.
However, if you intend to use it directly in front of you, the gentle angle of the recline is good enough for watching videos. Speaking about video, the iUFO also has a composite video output, so users can output movies from their Apple devices to other displays, like a television.
On a more positive note, one thing we liked about the swiveling and rotating dock is that by docking the iPhone and setting it into landscape mode, it actually transforms the iPhone into a mini computer of sorts, complete with speakers. And as is the case with most if not all such docks, docking your iPod or iPhone to the iUFO charges the device.
The iUFO isn’t as large as proper iPod/iPhone docks, but despite its modest size, the iUFO sounded commanding and we could raise its volume up to respectable levels without encountering distortion. Volume aside, the iUFO actually sounds rather decent. Sure, it might not be bass-thumping powerful nor aurally accurate, but it sounded smooth and clear. It’s not one for critical listening, but the iUFO will suffice for casual users who require nothing more than a decent sounding system.
In summary, the iUFO isn’t going to win any awards for its sound, but at least it sounds reasonably good, with a decent mid-range performance. And it is the iUFO’s adjustable turntable docking system that makes it one of if not the most unusual iPod/iPhone docking devices we’ve seen. With prices starting from US$110, it's also not going to put a dent in your wallet. Get it because it’s different, not because it’s better than other docks.