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Philips Fidelio DS9 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £249
inc VAT

The DS9 is painfully expensive, but its sound quality makes it a close contender for the [A HREF="" target="_blank"]B&W Zeppelin[/A]'s crown. However, a clumsy app interface and poor remote control count against it

If you’re the sort of person who can afford expensive devices like iPads and iPhones, so the logic goes, you’re likely to splash out on further flashy kit to go with your favourite high-tech toys. This has proved to be the case, with a range of high-end docks from manufacturers like Bowers & Wilkins flying off the shelves despite their staggering prices.

Philips Fidelio DS9

Philips’ latest entry in the high-end iPod dock battle is the DS9, a slightly smaller sister to last year’s DS9000. It costs a little less, too, although £249 is still a wince-inducing sum if you still think of this as a simple iPod accessory. You’re better off regarding the DS9 as a surprisingly powerful stereo system for your main room, with high quality components and design. It just happens to also be able to dock with Apple’s tablet and MP3 player as well as take a 3.5mm external audio connection.

Philips Fidelio DS9 rear

We prefer the DS9’s sound quality to that of the bigger DS9000, as it lacks the exaggerated and overpowering bass of the previous model. However, thanks to 8.9cm woofers with a bass port each, it’s still very bassy. It’s a little boomier than we’d like, but individual bass instruments are clearly identifiable rather than sounding like a simple thudding noise. The entire dock is massively loud, with excellent performance at both very high and very low volumes. Mid-range and treble notes are reproduced by the 18mm tweeters with a comparatively flat sound that’s little changed from the original recording unless you use the EQ settings in Philips’ Fidelio app.

Philips Fidelio DS9 remote

The app and the supplied remote control are the most annoying things about this dock. The app itself works well enough if you want to tune in to internet radio or set an alarm or sleep timer, and the remote control is fine if you want to navigate through Apple’s own menus. However, the remote feels unresponsive and its buttons didn’t behave as expected when we wanted to navigate around Philips’ own app. It’s an otherwise top-notch product – it’s a shame that the remote can make using it a chore. We still narrowly prefer the B&W Zeppelin.


Rating ****
Speaker configuration 2.0
RMS power output 50W
Power consumption standby 6W
Power consumption on 6W
Analogue inputs 3.5mm stereo
Digital inputs none
Dock connector iPod
Headphone output none
Satellite cable lengths none
Cable type N/A
Controls located main unit, remote control, app
Digital processing none
Tone controls 5-band equaliser
Price £249

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