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Computerized Investing > January 2011

Jensen JiPS-250i Rocker Docking Station for iPad, iPod and iPhone

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by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

Play and charge your iPad, iPhone or iPod.

Ever since the iPad was introduced in 2010, a flood of accessories have come to market to help users get the most from this piece of technology. However, one niche that seems to have gone under-served is speaker systems. Over the last few months I have been testing one such system: the Jensen JiPS-250i Rocker docking station and speaker system. While the Rocker doesn’t have the same “room filling” sound as some of the other speaker systems I have reviewed in this column, it does offer a reasonably priced charging and speaker option, albeit with a few “quirks.”

Setup

Setting up the Rocker is very easy. Within minutes of unpacking it, I had it plugged in and was ready to go. You can use the Rocker as a docking and charging station for a variety of Apple products, including the iPad, iPhone 4/3GS/3G, and the iPod nano, iPod classic and iPod 5th generation. There is also an auxiliary input jack on the back of the unit where you can connect an iPod shuffle or other digital audio player.

One of my biggest gripes with the Rocker is that in order to plug my iPad into the cradle, I had to remove it from the carrying case I use. Having to remove and reinsert the iPad into this case every time I wanted to use the Rocker was a bit of an inconvenience.

The Rocker has two speaker drivers in a plastic base. The cradle rotates, allowing you to view your iPad in either portrait or landscape orientation. The cradle itself has volume and power buttons, a power light and an infrared sensor for its remote control (which is included). On the back of the base you will find video-out, line-in and power ports.

Rocker App

There is also a free app that works in conjunction with the Rocker docking station. The app adds an enhanced alarm clock to your iPad or iPod with a sleep function, weather updates, voice messages, a calendar, equalizer settings for music playback, a music player, a photo album with a slideshow feature, and Internet radio.

Operation

For the most part the Rocker docking station and its app worked well enough. There were a few quirks, however, that I was not able to overcome. First, I was not able to get the remote control to work to advance or repeat songs. The remote worked to turn the Rocker on and off and to adjust the volume, but nothing else.

The sound quality of the Rocker is definitely an improvement over the built-in speakers of my iPad. It works perfectly for those looking for upgraded sound with a relatively small footprint.

Although the cradle is designed to rotate and pivot, the base isn’t heavy enough to support every possible configuration. This led to a few tense moments lunging to keep my iPad from toppling over.

Bottom Line

The Jensen JiPS-250i Rocker is the first docking station I have reviewed for the iPad. Overall, there wasn’t anything that would prevent me from recommending it. However, there is nothing overly intriguing about it either. For its price, it offers a good platform for charging your iPod or iPad and provides more-than-adequate sound performance. If you are looking for such a docking station for your office or nightstand, you may want to consider the Jensen Rocker.

JiPS-250i Rocker

Jensen/Audiovox Corporation/Spectra Merchandising International

www.spectraintl.com/jn/jips-250i.htm

$99.99 suggested retail price; ~$70 from Amazon.com

Pros:

  • Upgraded sound quality versus built-in iPad speakers
  • Free app
  • Reasonable price for its functionality

Cons:

  • Could not get remote to work for advancing/repeating songs
  • Base not heavy enough to support all cradle angles
  • Must remove iPad/iPod from case before plugging into cradle

Wayne A. Thorp, CFA, is the author of "Gadget Corner." All reviews are based on firsthand experience of the product or service. No third-party compensation is received for opinions on products, services, websites or topics. However, sometimes the author is not required by the manufacturer or their PR firm to return the product under review. In such instances, it is our policy to convey this within the review. The views and opinions expressed in these reviews are strictly those of the author. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

Wayne A. Thorp, CFA is a vice president and senior financial analyst at AAII and editor of Computerized Investing. Follow him on Twitter at @WayneTAAII.


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