Cambridge SoundWorks PlayDock PD200

The PlayDock will fit snugly into an area not much bigger than 30cm square, and give you power that is equivalent to a mini Hi-Fi system. When we tried it out in the lush surroundings of the PC World Test Centre, we were quite impressed with the low frequency response and the all-round sound it was able to deliver.

Three amplified main speakers, including a subwoofer, provide the audio thrust of the PowerDock. A 12V sealed lead-acid battery pack sits inside the sturdily constructed unit and gives it around 10 hours' worth of portable power. The unit weighs 6.6kg, so you can't exactly walk the streets while blaring the Bass Thumpers from Hell album, but the handle does make it easy to transport from place to place, while the rubber legs on the base will keep the unit steady when seated.

Cambridge has devised a rubbery glove that snuggles the Nomad Jukebox and keeps it attached to the top of the PlayDock. From there you only have to connect one cable to the Nomad's line-out jack. If your Nomad is running low on juice, the PlayDock can power it for you through another cable and, if you connect the AC adapter, you will be able to simultaneously charge the unit and the Nomad.

With only two visible cables, the PlayDock is extremely tidy and offers simplicity and security, as there are no wires to trip over when it's on battery power. The controls are well laid out and situated to the right of the Nomad, when it's in position, and allow you to manipulate the volume and wideness of the sound. Equaliser effects will have to be handled by the Nomad itself, though.

Hovering around a tentative $500, the PlayDock PD200 is an expensive accessory for the Nomad, but it does provide an easy speaker connectivity solution that can be used more than adequately at home or on the road.

Cambridge SoundWorks PlayDock PD200

Price: approx $499; Distributor: Creative Labs; Phone: (02) 9666 6100; URL: http://australia.creative.com

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