Product Philips Fidelio AS851 Android speaker dock
Specifications Android 2.1 and above, microUSB, 3.5mm jack input, full size USB, 2x3in drivers, 2x15W RMS, Bluetooth 2.1, remote control, 421x157x140mm.
THE SPEAKER DOCK market has been dominated by products designed for Apple Igadgets so it's refreshing that Philips has come along with one for Android users.
The dock comes in a curvy black design that is stylish but not all that striking. It has good build quality with a black mesh covering the speakers on the front, the docking section with chrome surround and a row of buttons and lights. Turn the dock around and you find a glossy black finish, two air holes and three ports.
Philips has specifically designed the AS851 for Android devices so it has a ‘Flexidock' microUSB connection on the front. This port can be found in many different places on smartphones and tablets so the dock has been designed to adjust in many different ways to accommodate.
Firstly, the microUSB port swivels 180 degrees and is able to slide a fair way up and down the length of the dock. Furthermore the connector rocks backwards and forwards to cope with different angles and thicker devices. Lastly the microUSB port is accompanied by an adjustable support on either side so a phone or tablet doesn't fall off.
We tried a number of different devices with the AS851 and managed to get them all sitting comfortably by fiddling with the different adjustments. One thing to note is that you need Android version 2.1 or higher.
Below the docking section are the power button, volume up and down buttons and a Bluetooth indicator light. The rear of the dock houses the power connector, a 3.5mm auxiliary socket - cable supplied - and a full size USB port.
This means you can use any device with a headphone socket as a source for the dock and use the USB port for charging purposes or to power USB gadgets.
Philips has also bundled the device with Bluetooth connectivity for wireless playback. We were surprised and slightly disappointed to discover that this is actually a requirement to get audio playing from the dock, because the microUSB port does not support audio so it is just used for charging. The down side is that the wireless connection will drain battery life if the device is not plugged in.
Even though the dock is designed and advertised for Android devices, the Bluetooth means that you can connect anything you own that has Bluetooth. This is a plus point in our eyes.
If you've downloaded the Fidelio app, which we'll talk about in full later, then your first use will take you through the set up and remember the connection in future, avoiding the hassle of menus each time you want to use the app. This isn't the case for non-Android devices though.