Philips Fidelio AS851 Docking Speaker for Android

4/19/2012 3:11:53 PM

Description: Philips Fidelio AS851 Docking Speaker for Android

2 stars

Price: $199

There are hundreds of iPod docks, but Philips Fidelio AS851 is the first specialized dock for Android devices that we have ever seen. There are inherent practical problems in an Android dock. No standard for transmitting digital audio to USB is the most obvious.

To solve it, AS851 connects to your phone via Bluetooth. It is processed smoothly through free Fidelio application that you have to install on your phone first. As soon as you connect your mobile phone with dock, the application and dock will realize each other and remind you to combine them. Once it’s done, every sound from the phone will be sent to the speakers.

Most mobile phones are only capable of transmitting A2DP Bluetooth audio, a compressed standard creating audio quality which is not very ideal. We are surprised because Philips didn’t include standard support for new Apt-X Bluetooth audio, higher quality, because it is supported by some Android mobile phone and music player. However, the difference in sound quality is not considerable on such a dock speaker though we find that music transmitted by A2DP is sometimes cut in high notes, may be due to the interference from those nearby devices using 2.4GHz waveband. Luckily, there is a 3.5mm stereo input which you can use to connect to the mobile phone – or any audio devices – if you don’t want to use Bluetooth.

There are volume controls and power on the dock, but most applications are integrated into Fidelio application and the remote control coming with the dock. Unfortunately, none of them is easy to use. To use the remote control, you need to install Songbird music player on the mobile phone. Nevertheless, we met trouble navigating it by using the remote control, which didn’t have enough button for work.

You must apply all the navigation with left and right buttons, which do different tasks depending on the menu you are staying. It will not be matter if it’s easy to use the touch screen of the phone while it is attached to the dock, but Micro USB frame is designed to rotate. It means you can connect to any Micro USB devices without the dedicated support or adaptor, but it will shake your mobile phone if you try to use it.

AS851 sounds good to satisfy most of the people. It has amazing bass for a 2.0 stereo dock by two rear bass port, but it doesn’t overwhelm the higher frequencies. Some details are lost in complicated tracks but we don’t have any major complaints about sound quality.

The biggest problem with the dock is its price. With more than £180, we expect that sound quality and functions are better. It’s a good idea in principle and does not sound bad but it’s frustrating to use. With this price, you can buy excellent InMotion Air of Altec Lansing which supports A2DP and Apt-X, and just plug the phone into a power outlet for charging.


Verdict. We love the idea about an Android dock device but it’s too expensive and hard to use.

Android dock speakers. 2.0, 30W RMS output, 3.5mm stereo, dock Micro USB, one year RTB warranty.

Energy consumption: 2W standby, 7W operation.

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