Published on April 7th, 2013 | by Greg0
Ion Room Rocker: Make Some Noise!
We’ve got a few fun audio products on our hands here to check out over the next few days. Covering several categories, today’s gadget is one for the home or office. We’ve seen lots of Bluetooth audio gear, and we’re sure that you have as well- but not too many Bluetooth docks have come out recently. The trend that we’ve seen has been away from docking (at least partially because Apple changed it’s adapter from the trusty old 30-pin.
But Ion Audio’s Room Rocker bucks the trend, combining Bluetooth and a 30-pin dock with enough space for both older iPads and iPhones. Of course, thanks to the wireless connectivity and the auxiliary input, you can easily connect any other smartphone or tablet, from your Android device to your laptop. There’s no Airplay support, but this isn’t intended for multi-room use really, and nor is it aimed at competing with outdoors-capable or portable Bluetooth speakers.
Instead, this one is meant to sit on your desk, night stand, or side table and offer a convenient space to charge your device and listen at the same time. Considering the use cases, it was a little surprising to see that there was no clock or radio option included. Several speaker docks like those from PURE offer more options in terms of services, while the previously-reviewed Ion Tailgater serves as a solid Bluetooth option with a radio and microphone but is several times the size and is a better fit for parties. The Room Rocker looks and feels more like a piece of home entertainment gear, with a nicer color palette and slicker appearance.
Onboard controls are slightly awkward due to their placement, but for Bluetooth users, you’ll be controlling everything from you device anyway. And there’s a decent remote control included (with a shuffle button?!) The unit requires power- no batteries- but can put out far more power than many competitors, up to 40 watts. The pair of 2.5″ stereo drivers are pretty good, and a 1″ down-firing subwoofer ensures that you’ll feel some bass. As with most Bluetooth devices, range can vary, but we were able to get around 40 feet away and still remain connected. One oddity that was a bit frustrating and required us checking the manual for confirmation: if you are using it with a Bluetooth device, the Room Rocker will no longer play audio from an iOS device connected to the dock until the Bluetooth device is unpaired!
We played a variety of tracks and even soundscapes through the Room Rocker, and found it best for acoustic, rock, and pop songs. At extreme higher frequencies, we noticed some distortion, and at lower frequencies, the unit either vibrates a bit or the sounds are slightly swallowed depending on the surface and placement. Sound is warm, full, and there is plenty of depth, but couldn’t compare to more expensive units like those from Bowers and Wilkins. Of course, at $120-$140, the Room Rocker is competitive in it’s price class, even if it does feel slightly overpriced. If you don’t need or want a 30-pin dock for you iDevice, we suggest saving some money and looking elsewhere. If you do, then this is a great, attractive Bluetooth speaker dock and is available now online and in stores.