First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Onkyo DS-A1 Remote Interactive Dock
- Charges while docked, Video and Image viewing through your television, Stylish
- No remote control for iPod Video functions, Expensive, Only works with Onkyo systems, No digital out port
At this price we just can’t recommend the DS-A1 to anyone. It does the core functions well but is missing some convenient features that may have justified its RRP.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
The Onkyo DS-A1 Remote Interactive iPod Dock is a great idea in theory, but the fact that it is only compatible with Onkyo components means its potential becomes severely limited. But if you are one such person who owns both an Onkyo Home Theatre component and an iPod, you'll find this unit both extremely useful and very easy to use, although it could be much improved.
We didn't know exactly what this product was nor what it actually did when it first arrived our office. It sounded amazing - , according to the packaging - but when we opened the box and found no remote control, we realised that we perhaps should have read the user guide first. Basically, the Onkyo DS-A1 is designed to hook up to an Onkyo Home Theatre component; such as a DVD Player or Amplifier. You then use that particular products remote control to play your iPod through the Onkyo system. Music from your iPod is fed via the DS-A1 to your amplifier and speakers and video from the iPod Video to your television.
The design of the unit spells, well, iPod. White in colour, the DS-A1 has a plastic circular base and contains no buttons or controls besides a blue LED which indicates power. We were surprised to see no controls on the actual dock itself but the basic iPod controls can be operated with the remote control of the Onkyo device you've connected it to. Conveniently, the DS-A1 also charges your iPod while it's connected and it looks quite attractive on our desk in the office; however its real use is in the lounge room.
The rear of the DS-A1 houses an S-Video Out port, Audio Out and a DC in connector as well as an R1 port. R1 stands for 'Remote Interactive' and is the exclusive Onkyo control system that allows all R1 compatible components to be controlled by a single remote. In addition to this, a very nifty feature is that all the components connected via R1 can be turned on and off simultaneously. This system has the potential for bigger and better things, namely wireless; so we'll be sure to look out for some developments in Onkyo products in the near future.
To test the DS-A1, we used the Onkyo TX-L55 receiver, which is part of the Onkyo Liverpool Series MS5LX . We simply plugged the DS-A1 cables into the Aux input on the receiver and away we went. Although there are a couple of cables to connect, its nothing that will take more than a couple of minutes and as you'll more than likely leave the dock in one location together with your home theatre setup, it shouldn't need to be moved often.
Unfortunately using your iPod Video with the dock doesn't allow you use of a remote control. Furthermore, we wish Onkyo would have found a way to implicate the iPod menu on your television, as viewing the iPod screen to change tracks isn't ideal. In addition to these problems, not all of the iPod's functions, such as alarms and sleep functions are available for use with the dock on certain iPod models. We'd advise you to update your iPod firmware before using the DS-A1 as this could save you a lot of time and effort later down the track.
Overall, the DS-A1 has some potential but the fact that it can only be used with Onkyo systems, doesn't allow remote control functionality with the iPod Video and doesn't display the iPod menu on your television screen means it's not worth the money at this asking price.
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