Available in black or white, this dock was designed for the first-generation iPod nano and is made out of plastic that complements the slick and shiny look of that product. If you have a new second-generation nano (you lucky thing) then this dock will still function, but the iPod will be a couple of millimetres off-centre.
What’s unusual about the dock is the way it looks, with an all-in-one shape that seems to just flow from end-to-end. The dock holds the iPod upright but leaning back at a slight angle – this means it’s easy to see what’s playing.
The stand hosts a USB and a line-out port at the back, with an additional headphone/line-out port on the left-hand side. It ships with a USB cable. Underneath you’ll find two rubber feet that hold the device steady.
What’s missing? There’s no remote control and it doesn’t come with an audio cable, effectively it’s a £19 lump of plastic that does two jobs. In its defence, Apple also sells a dock for the nano, which costs £19, is available in black and white, and is made of plastic. Apple’s dock offers a line-out port and will sync your iPod, but there is a significant difference that makes Marware’s solution a better deal – it comes with a USB cable. Apple’s solution doesn’t – and requires that you use the cable supplied with your iPod in order to connect the dock to the computer. Why is this a problem? If you travel with your music player you probably need to take the cable with you, which means remembering to disconnect it from the dock before you leave, and finding the thing before you use the dock next time. And Apple charges £15 for an extra cable. So head-to-head, this dock’s a better deal.
Used to play music through a stereo system, you’ll enjoy good sound, as the device sucks audio through the dock connector. However, while you must use the iPod’s on-screen menu to control what’s playing, you can’t control the volume there – you need to use the volume control on the stereo.
With the arrival of better-featured docks focused on integrating iPods into existing home-entertainment systems, this device’s limited versatility makes it less than essential. True, nanos just play music, and for a small and reliable dock to integrate a nano into a stereo or as a sync/recharge station, Marware’s offering is a better choice than Apple’s.