By Khaled Akbik
The good folks at LG were kind enough to give us this beautiful device to test it out. Here's what we think about it.
Many of us today own multiple devices where we store our media files and music on and access the Internet from. Many of us have a combination of an iPad and an iPhone or Android phone, or an iPod and an Android phone. The LG ND5520 was built with these people in mind.
The device has two docking stations, one that has a 30 pin iDevice dock and another with a micro USB. The iDevice connector works with any iDevice (iPods, iPads, iPhones) except for the new generation iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone 5 that require Apple's Lightning adapter to work. This is quite a limitations for those who have upgraded to Apple's new offering or those who have just caught up with the rest of the world, choosing to be Apple users.
Thankfully, I have plenty of devices in my arsenal and was able to test it with the following: iPad 2, iPad Mini, iPod Touch 5th generation, iPod classic, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and a Nokia Lumia. Of course I had to use Apple's propratiery 30 pin to Lightning adapter to get the iPad Mini and iPod Touch to work on it.
The LG ND5520 retails at AED799 ($217).
Look and Feel
The device's design is quite simplistic yet beautiful. It is evident that LG had performance and sound quality in mind when they designed this. The device I reviewed was white all around (the only color available), with a touch enabled pad that also acts as a display screen showing the current status, time, functions, etc of the device. I found myself playing with this touch pad quite often.
The ND5520 has a USB slot at the back as well as an antenna jack to boost the built-in radio's performance. It also comes with an extension piece that acts as a supporter for whenever an iPad is docked on it and an infrared remote control.
LG has also developed an app (iOS and Android) that turns your smartphone into a remote control as well, just in case you've misplaced the actual remote or you're simply too lazy to reach out for it. The app is brilliant and does everything the remote does with a few extended functions like putting the device to sleep, setting folder presets, muting and looping tracks.
Unfortunately, there is no app for phones running Windows 8 at the moment. However, the phone does work as any Android device would over Bluetooth.
The Docks and Connections
One thing I loved when I first fired up the device is when the clock automatically set itself as soon as I docked my Note 2 on it. I love smart devices that do such things on their own.
The ND5520 acts as a speaker for whatever you're playing on your device, movie, YouTube, music, etc.
The device has 5 modes it runs on:
1. iPod (this covers pretty much all iOS devices)
5. Bluetooth (displayed as BT on the device)
I found it rather strange that it doesn't have a mode for Android. While you can play media from an iOS device when docked, you can't do the same with an Android device. The only way you can do that is through Bluetooth, which works well enough, but quite limiting since I can only connect one Bluetooth device at a time. It's means if I'm listening to music from my Android device through Bluetooth I can't use the app on another device as a remote control since it also runs over Bluetooth.
The iOS, USB and radio are straight forward. The port is used if you plug a 3.5mm jack positioned at the back with your music player, the device here functions as any headphones or standard speakers would.
Both the iDevice and micro USB docks charge the device when docked as well.
The LG ND5520 sounds brilliant. I fired up Pink Floyd's High Hopes as a first test and I was extremely impressed with the quality of sound. Everything sounded crisp and clear with no noise whatsoever, even when cranked up to the highest volume level. The bass level is supported by the device's size, as mentioned earlier, LG designed this with sound quality in mind.
If you're worried about sound quality with this device, don't be.
Multi-dock, with added value of Bluetooth USB, radio and 3.5mm jack port together with an accompanying smartphone/iPad app, remote control, alarm clock, multipurpose touch front panel display, affordable price and great sound...this is an outstanding device.
It's only drawbacks are the outdated iDevice connector, which could easily be addressed by using the 30 pin to Lightning connector, and that Android only works over Bluetooth, which works just as good, but we're all for equality and all that.