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TDK TAC7221BK Portable Speaker System review

Kat Orphanides
10 Aug 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
60
inc VAT

This compact dock is light and portable, but we’ve reviewed better-sounding rivals

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The TDK TAC7221 is a cheap-and-cheerful portable iPod dock with an FM radio tuner. It can be powered by either the mains or four AA batteries, and is small and light enough to stick into a backpack and take around with you, whether you're going on a picnic or travelling halfway across Europe to a festival. The fact that it takes AA batteries is also a bonus for travellers, as you don't need mains power to recharge the dock. The dock is matte black, with most of its front panel occupied by the speakers, which have bass ports at the rear. A sturdy handle moulded into the back makes it easier to carry around.

TDK TAC7221BK Portable Speaker System

Sound quality isn't brilliant, but it's worth bearing in mind that this is a very compact and power-efficient speaker. You'll get the best results from pop and dance music with a wide dynamic range - don't expect the fine details of jazz, classical or technical death metal to shine through to their best effect. Rock music is also reproduced at a satisfactory level of quality, although the mid-range of guitar-based tunes can be rather muddy - we noticed some improvement to the sound quality in general when we used an auxiliary source with a strong bass rather than a docked iPod, which helps to compensate for the dock's slightly tinny treble.

TDK TAC7221BK Portable Speaker System

Unfortunately, TDK's controller app is very poor. There’s an initial irritation when you start it, as any music you're playing on your iPod stops as soon as you open the app. It's poorly laid out and the majority of features are hidden in a sub-menu. The main screen is the alarm clock control, which is clear and simple to use and allows you to start your day with music. It's obvious that the alarm is the main function of the app. If you want to use it to control your inputs, tune in the radio or play your music collection, you have to go into the settings menu, where you'll be able to switch sound sources and browse music - but only based on the sorting criteria or playlist that you were last browsing using the iPod's own music player.

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