on November 22, 2011
I'm listening to smooth jazz via Pandora on my Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0 (SGP for the rest of this review) through the Philips Fidelio as I type this, and it's quite nice. I'll admit, I wasn't expecting much when I ordered this, but color me surprised!
This device is meant to be a bedside alarm clock/speaker dock for your Android device. So, I'm sure some people may wonder, but no, it does not run on batteries, so while it is small enough to be portable, you can't pack it and take it with you to the beach.
The Fidelio connects to your Android device via Bluetooth and there is a micro USB plug you can use to attach your device for charging only; it cannot be used for synching. Also, in regards to the USB docking connector, it can slide left and right and can also swivel and tilt, allowing for the dock to be used with virtually any Android handheld device (as long as it uses a micro USB plug). This flexibility does come at a price, though, as it makes the connection seem flimsy and weak, and I worry about repeatedly docking my SGP and removing it. Time will tell. I also think that it would've been nice if the dock also swiveled up to allow me to use my SGP in landscape mode to watch videos, but because the jack is on the bottom, it's portrait-only.
The unit itself is a disc about an inch and a half tall and six inches or so in diameter, with shiny black plastic around and a mesh on the entire top where the speakers are. On the front of the dock is a dot-matrix clock (which I find quite nice) and a blue indicator light to show when the speakers are on. In the center of the top is a flat, tall, clear tab sticking about an inch or two straight out the top and right in front of that, the adjustable micro USB dock connector. Both sit centered on the control panel that controls the power, volume, and night light (with two levels of brightness). The buttons are actual buttons and not touch-sensitive; there is a distinct click when you push them. The front center button is the power/snooze button and flanking that are the volume buttons.
Now, a major design flaw to me is the light button, which sits BEHIND where your Android device goes. So, if your phone/MP3 player docks in landscape mode, expect to have to fumble around to turn on the glowing orange night light that emit from the bottom of the dock. This is only made worse by the fact that your device is only attached by that small, flimsy micro USB connector; I'd be worried that in a late-night stupor, I might snap off the connector while trying to turn on/off the night light.
As far as pairing my SGP to the Fidelio went, it was a simple, painless process and I was listening to my music in less than a minute. I tend to keep the volume on my music low when I use headphones (15-20%), so at first, when I started playing my music, I thought something was wrong because I didn't hear anything. Only when I turned the volume up on both did I hear my music, and even at 30 on the dock and 50% on my SGP, it was still low, so I wouldn't expect this speaker to fill a loud or large room.
While on the subject of music, however, I'm no audiophile, but I'm finding the Fidelio pleasant for listening to jazz while I'm sipping some coffee and reading my book. The bass is subtle and the piano and sax clear. I've also listened to some pop and rock music and it's much better than any small/portable speaker I've tried. I'm very impressed by the audio from this little device.
The box and instructions directed me to the Android Market to download the Fidelio app and Songbird to use the speaker, but when I read the poor reviews (app crashes, glitches, system resource hog, etc.), I decided to see if I could get it to work without using Philip's app. Verdict: It works wonderfully on Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread! I streamed music off Pandora and AAC files directly from my music app. I also watched a video I converted and it all sounded great! Nice and clear. So if you're worried about downloading yet another third-party app, fear not; it's not necessary.
In summary, the Fidelio is a fantastic near-universal Android dock with great sound quality. With the exception of the location of the light button and some sturdiness issues in regards to the dock connector, it's intelligently designed to handle most handheld Android devices, is very easy to use (so easy the instructions are only pictures, no words), and offers fantastic audio quality in a small package. An easy four stars!
In a world where there are a large variety of iPhone and iPod speaker docks and clock radios, I was happy to see that Philips is producing good sounding speaker docks for the Android platform. With the debut of the Philips AS111/37 Fidelio Docking Speaker for Android, Philips has made an affordable Android docking speaker/clock radio that both looks and sounds good.
The Philips Android speaker dock is small and cylinder shaped, looking somewhat futuristic. It's all black, with just a snooze, volume and clock/nightlight buttons on the top. The unit itself is plastic, with fabric on top, covering the speakers. The top also has the dock for an Android phone, and the dock itself moves back and forth to fit any phone. The speaker dock also has an amber night light. Although the speaker dock is small, it produces very good sound and a balanced tone. I streamed music from both Pandora and Slacker, as well as music on my phone, I am very pleased with the sound this speaker dock produces. Highs are clear, and there's a good amount of bass present as well. The unit gets louds, and at its loudest setting, 32, it does not distort. Music plays wirelessly; the phone docks to the unit for charging purposes only. The Bluetooth connection is very effortless; the speaker dock found and connected with my phone almost immediately.
So that's the good news. Now here is the bad news. Because the speaker dock has so few buttons or controls, you need an app to control the alarm clock function. Philips wants you to download its Fidelio app, but the app is pretty large, (it may be a resource hog on your phone) and buggy.
The instructions, which are very bare (just a series of drawings, no real written instructions) don't really tell you much, so you have to sort of feel your way around the app to figure things out. It took me a while to find the actual alarm function on the app, which is not good if you are half asleep trying to adjust the alarm. I would suggest downloading any of the free Alarm apps available in the Android market. They are much less of a resource hog, have more features, and will not be as buggy. Waking up to music on my phone, such as Slacker, Pandora, or Sirius, is not possible, since my phone is password protected. The alarm does turn the phone on, but you have to enter a password to hear music. The alarm app will wake you to music that you have installed on the phone, or to a series of sounds (rain, waves, etc.).
I have an HTC Incredible phone, which means my phone has to sit horizontal on the connector since my charging input is on the side of the phone. The phone is somewhat hard to connect to the dock, and then once connected falls off easily since it is sitting on its side. Again, if you are trying to use this in the dark, it may be very hard (and frustrating) to connect the phone to the speaker dock.
Overall, I applaud Philips for putting out a great sounding speaker dock for an Android device. I use the Bluetooth to connect to the speaker, and enjoy listening to music. But I have to give this unit only three stars because of the weak Fidelio app and poor support for phones that have to sit horizontally on the connector. As a speaker dock, purely on sound, I would rate this unit a four, but the app (and a limited alarm function) brings to score down to a three.
on October 29, 2011
The dock is very well built. The speaker can get louder than I expected and without any distortion of any kind. The Fidelio app is okay...it isn't the best. The only thing that I found useful of the app is that it turns on the bluetooth when it gets docked. The app is also used to sync the time between the phone and dock, but you can also set the time up manually.
However, I did find a minor issue when the phone is connected. When I'm not playing any music and get a call,text, or any type of notification the ringtone does not play on the speaker. Not sure if this is a bug with the bluetooth stack in the OS or the dock. I have tried to uninstall the Fidelio app and just pair it using the bluetooth menus. The only time it would play the notification is when music is playing. I think the dock/speakers turn off when no sound is playing though the bluetooth and there is a delay that prevents those short notifications to play. I wish it would play those notifications thought the dock speakers...but just a minor inconvenience.
Don't know what I would use the nightlight function for, but its a soft glow and there are two brightness settings. The clock display has three brightness settings.
I have an EVO 4G running CM7.1, which is Android 2.3.7
on October 25, 2011
It seems to be very high-quality and the sound is surprisingly good for a small as it is.The Fidelio app. has a lot to be desired. Hopefully they will improve this over time overtime. It is not necessary to use the app for the alarm clock music player etc.but it is necessary for the Bluetooth connection. the soft glow nightlight is a really cool and It is nice to be able to listen to Pandora at my bedside.So far I love this thing.I just wish the Fidelio app.was nicer.
Amazon sent me a free one of these to review.
As I unpacked the box for this pretty little device, I felt waves of skepticism. How well could they design a docking station for Android phones "in general" when the models vary so much? Answer: they have done a GREAT job on setup and a WEAK job on day-to-day usage.
First the good news.
I really put setup to the test: I did not open the manual until afterward. There was a sticker telling me to install the "Philips Fidelio" Android app, so I did, and ran it. It said it was searching for Philips devices, and after a minute displayed Philips AS111 which I touched to select. 30 seconds more and it said it was connected via Bluetooth.
(The sound goes through wireless Bluetooth. The only plug for your phone is a Micro USB plug, that is, just a standard charger plug. This plug plus a handy little stand holds your phone in place as pictured on this page.)
I proceeded to run my favorite music player (Pandora) and the sound came out of the Philips speaker, and the volume buttons worked. (So did the night light button, which doesn't use the phone.) And the clock on the face of the device automatically set to the time on my phone. Next I tried the included alarm clock app, which worked great and was very easy to use.
They include a free music sync/play program which I did not bother using, as I'm happy with how it works already.
Soon after plugging in the phone I got a message "updated firmware available." Now, I'm a technical guy and I know this means "cool, they are offering to upgrade my speaker's built-in software for free." But what's an average person supposed to think of this message? Anyhow, I let it upgrade and then edited my review because this upgrade fixed some problems in automatic docking/undocking.
Now for the bad news.
The volume buttons on the speaker do not change the volume on the phone, they only change how much the speaker multiplies it -- so if you want to "crank it up" you have to adjust the volume on the speaker AND on the phone.
While the sound is quite good for a clock radio, it is not good enough to listen to music for hours. With acceptable bass but tinny treble and weak midrange, it could not be called "high fidelity," nor can it play loud enough to satisfy a rock fan or a noisy party. You will still want to plug into your "real" stereo (or headphones or earbuds) for serious listening. That makes this more of a "super clock" and less of a "stereo replacement".
on November 9, 2011
I love this dock! It think it's very much worth the $90 - The sound has an amazing quality (you cannot compare to cheaper brands - I had a cheap ihome for my ipod and fidelio is a lot better by far!) and I love that I can use it as an alarm clock that wakes me up softly.
It's very easy to use, and I think it's pretty smart how they came up with a solution that fits all android phones. Bluetooth turns on/off automatically and the phone charges through the mini usb port (i.e., I also like that I can also use the speakers to play back my music while the phone is not docked!)
I really don't care for the songbird app, I just use pandora or any internet radio station and it works perfectly...
on December 16, 2011
I wanted a combo alarm clock/speaker/docking station for my Samsung Galaxy SII for the bedroom, this was the best option available that fit on a nightstand. My comments are in line with everyone elses.
Negatives: The Fidelio app constantly tries to connect - and I know how to kill apps - it would automatically restart itself. I uninstalled it, everything works fine.
The microUSB connector is not an exact fit, I have to wiggle it to get connection, works better without a case (thin rubber) but not like using a charger cord. (Note that my phone has a known issue with using chargers other than the Samsung cord; I have removed that issue from the equation).
I tried the alarm, but had trouble setting it and getting it to work - honestly, prefer the Alarm Extreme app on my phone so just use that.
Sound adjustment - you have to turn the phone up in addition to the speaker to get full sound. I just read some other reviews that adjust from phone, so I need to recheck this.
Bluetooth music connection and speakers. Just the right amount of wattage for a bedroom speaker that I can hear fine in the bathroom
Nice size, attractive design.
I honestly have thought about returning it and just getting a bluetooth speaker, since it turns out I use my phone for the time and alarm, as well as apps to radio and Pandora, given the issues with the usb connector fit. But I like the look and compact size, and got it 20 bucks off regular price late Thanksgiving day. I have til Jan 31 to debate this, so will mess with it some more over the holidays when I have more time.
EDITED TO UPDATE
Well, after a few weeks, I got tired of wiggling every which way to get a connection, not knowing what that was doing to my phone, but decided to chance that it was the unit I got, not the product, so exchanged. In the meantime, Samsung provided an update for the known battery/connector issue, so we know that is now not a factor. The new unit connects easily; I do need to tap once on the right side of the phone, but that is it.
I think part of the problem is that this phone is so slim that is receives no support from the plastic wall at back intended for that purpose. I have another standalone dock (Sinjimoru dock, recommended) that uses a slant support, that works. I may see what happens if I insert something to support the phone. I did look at other solutions using an independent docking setup and speaker, but the speakers that used AC arent small enough for the bedside table application. So again, since I got a great price, I will live with the idiosyncrasies of this product, but would recommend you buy used or wait for a price discount, until they fix the app even 79 is too high.
I must say I'm quite impressed with the design and quality of the AS111/37. It's got a terribly user-unfriendly name, but this is one sexy little beast. The compact design is elegant, modern, and sophisticated.. not to mention shiny. I'm going to call this "the puck" from now on because AS111/37 is ugly sounding.
The perspective shots in the product photography really do not do the unit justice. They make the dock look really fat and bulgy, but in reality, the sides are not tapered. It's more like a giant hockey puck (or if you prefer, a chocolate baumkuchen because it's the same size and shape) than anything else. The first picture is most accurate. It looks great in any room, even the kitchen, where I have it for product testing.
First of all, the manual recommends that you install Fidelio and Songbird. I agree with this recommendation, as the puck is hard or impossible to use otherwise. Most, if not all, of the features, like the alarm timer, sleep timer, and internet radio, cannot be configured or used at all. There are precisely 4 physical buttons on the dock itself and no way to access the features. They are 4: +/- volume, power, and brightness dimmer. The brightness dimmer toggles the LCD clock brightness between 3 levels. If the power is on, it also toggles the nightlight floor lighting underneath the unit. Oddly, if the power is off, you cannot turn on the nightlight. The buttons are not raised or textured, so finding them in the dark may be a problem. They are also spread across each side of the dock at opposite ends from each other, not grouped together. - is on left, + on the right, power in front, and dimmer behind the backboard.
If for some reason you cannot login to the Android Market to download these apps (because, say, you borrowed the phone from your brother and he won't tell you his password), the dock is still usable as a speaker via Bluetooth pairing. Pairing is not as difficult as the manual implies. It only took me 3 or 4 tries. Turn on the phone's Bluetooth discoverability and push scan. It should recognize the Philips after a few seconds. The manual does not say to turn on Bluetooth discoverability on your phone, so I'm writing this here in case that bit of info helps you. Once paired, you can play your music through the speakers. Your phone can be in the next room or wherever. It doesn't have to be docked. The volume controls are independent: the phone's volume is independent of the speaker's volume. You turn the phone way down and the speakers way up, for example. The puck can get quite loud when the phone volume is high and the speaker volume is high. I did not try to max out both, in consideration of sleeping neighbors. Sound quality is very good for a clock-radio, with a good amount of bass. I don't expect high fidelity sound reproduction from a clock-radio, but the puck more than delivers.
As for the USB connector itself, I think it could've been done a lot better. Because of the wide variety of Android phone shapes and sizes, Philips decided to make a weird sliding, pivoting dock port with thumbwheels that raise and lower risers. I was really perplexed by the sticker on the dock until I fiddled around with the knobs. My test phone has a slightly curved bottom, so it sits uneasily on the riser pegs, tall and wiggly. It doesn't feel very stable. If your phone's port is on the left or right side, you can slide the dock left or right to center it against the backboard. (Mine has an Android guy sticker on it.) Maybe Phillips didn't have much of a choice designing a universal dock that fits all the different shapes and sizes of Android phones in the market, but I think it could've been done better. I imagine one clumsy drowsy arm swipe when reaching for the snooze button would cause your phone to go flying and possibly damage the connector.
Overall, a very solidly crafted speaker dock, other than the USB connector. Much better than I thought it would be. Lastly, the product is minimally packaged, with only 2 or 3 bags for the manuals and AC adapter, and no styrofoam/plastic molds to throw out. The carton inside is paperboard. Kudos to Philips for thinking about the environment too.
on July 12, 2013
If I were just rating the hardware here, I would give the product 5 stars. It's sleek and nicely sized for a bedside device. The speakers sound ok. The clock display is sleek, minimal, and sexy. The brushed metal buttons have a nice click when you tap them. The nightlight, however, is pretty wimpy. You could maybe use it to find a pair of glasses on your nightstand if you woke up in the middle of the night and other lights would blind you, but that's about where it stops being useful.
I mainly wanted to use this not to listen to music, but to have a physical clock display and physical snooze button to press for my phone alarm. In theory the Fidelio is capable of this, but you need to use the Fidelio (now DockStudio) app. This app (if it worked) offers many cool features: time synchronization via bluetooth between your clock and phone; the ability to play music via bluetooth through the dock speakers; and the ability to hit a physical snooze button to snooze the alarm on the app.
However, the app is abysmal. The screen graphics overwrite each other without clearing, making a jumble of buttons. I still can't get it to play music as an alarm, and am forced to use the included "bells" sound. The app looks ugly on a phone with a higher-resolution screen, and chooses pixelated background images for the clock that you can't change. Plus, it crashes a lot (which means that any alarms you set in it will NOT go off, as it needs to be running to sound an alarm), and eats memory like crazy.
If you are not attached to the idea of using the physical snooze button, however, you can just use the speakers as a Bluetooth audio device for other alarm apps or other music playing apps, and it will work perfectly. You will not be able to use the physical snooze button, but your phone screen is literally 1" away from the button, so it's not a big difference.
I'm still on the fence over whether I should keep it after the disappointing performance of the DockStudio app. At least the hardware is good, and there's always a chance that the software can be updated or upgraded by someone other than the boss's nephew who's interning for the summer, or whoever worked on that godawful thing.
on November 13, 2013
It takes a lot for me to give something 5 stars, so please do not take the loss of a star as a sign of any issues with this product. I do really like this product as it is reasonably priced and does exactly what I wanted it for. I have a spare, older Android phone from another provider that I do not use anymore. It works great as the brain for this clock/charger/speaker system. The Bluetooth is a little awkward, but not difficult to setup. It syncs the time perfectly and is not too bright at night. There are a few awkward controls, but nothing major you cannot work around. Like the power button is primarily used for turning on and off the Bluetooth, but you also have to hit the button to adjust the brightness of the night light and clock brightness. So, hitting the power button turns your bluetooth on and off every time you try to adjust the brightness. However, once you get the bright adjusted, you probably never have to go through that process again. It would also be nice if they made the mini-usb mount a bit more sturdy. The phone I am using has the power plug on the side near the top so it sits kind of off-center on the charging mount. It holds fine, but looks like it could fall if jarred or bumped too hard. Overall, I like it as the bluetooth connecting is good and the sound is acceptable. I use a third party alarm app called Gentle Alarm and it works great! Can wake to random song on playlist, set snoozes and has gradual increasing volume settings for waking up.