Welcome to Engadget's back to school guide! The end of summer vacation isn't nearly as much fun as the weeks that come before, but a chance to update your tech tools likely helps to ease the pain. Today, we have speaker docks in our sights -- and you can head to the back to school hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the month. Be sure to keep checking back -- at the end of the month we'll be giving away a ton of the gear featured in our guides -- and hit up the hub page right here.
If there's any post-adolescent period that deserves its own soundtrack, it's your college years. Sure, our portable audio picks will let you jam on the go, but the best collegiate experiences are shared with friends -- and listening to music should be no exception. Even if you'd prefer to keep your playlist out of your friends' feed, be it in person or online, you'll still need to wake up each morning, and what better way to ease into the waking world than with your favorite tracks? These speaker docks offer more functionality than your average smartphone clock, and they're certainly better equipped to play DJ when it comes time to close the books. Join us past the break for our 2012 picks.
On the cheap
Logitech Clock Radio S400i
For such a reasonably priced product, this guy doesn't skimp on features. Dual-alarm settings accommodate different sleep schedules, a preset time function lets you drift off without worrying about silencing your tunes and Logitech's stereo sound makes those jams worth pumping.
Key specs: 3.5mm aux jack, iPhone and iPod support, weighs 3.4 pounds.
Price: $66 on Amazon
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For those on the iOS side of things, the iMT630 offers bass drivers to enhance low-end sound, and the rechargeable lithium-ion battery means you won't be tied to an outlet.
Price: $55 on Amazon
Philips docking speaker with Bluetooth for Android
Philips' docking speaker literally puts your phone on a pedestal with its platform design. The circular shape helps the Neodymium speakers provide omni-directional sound, too.
Price: $65 on Amazon
Sound Step Recharge Ghost
Yes, it's a speaker dock for your iPod or iPhone, but the Ghost also lets you stream music wirelessly over Bluetooth from any compatible device. The white design is all kinds of sleek and slinky, too.
Key specs: Six hours of battery life, 3.5mm aux jack, remote control app for iOS and Android, weighs 3.1 pounds.
Price: $149 on Amazon
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The WiFi-enabled 100i lets you access internet radio and stream music from your laptop and other connected devices. Though this speaker dock doesn't pack many surprises, its swiveling dock is nifty.
Price: $150 on Amazon
JBL OnTime Micro
Compatible with iPhones and iPods, the Micro lets you set up to seven independent alarms with the music of your choice, and the loudspeaker system allows for substantially loud sound.
Price: $80 on Amazon
Money's no object
A series of tubes adds up to something quite beautiful with the DA-E750, which uses glass fiber speakers, a built-in subwoofer and vacuum tubes to push out 100 watts of audio. But let's be serious here -- the real draw is that Ivy League-opulent mahogany trim.
Key specs: iPhone, iPod and Samsung Galaxy device support, AirPlay, AllShare, Bluetooth 3.0, USB Direct Play, remote control, weighs 5 pounds.
Price: $650 on Amazon
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50 watts of power will keep you and a few dozen friends on the beat for hours at a time, and the included 3.5mm aux cable will let you connect any audio source. The downside is your roommates might hate you for the rich-kid setup, but the upside is they'll get to enjoy high-end sound engineering in a space age-worthy curved design.
Price: $294 on Amazon
Peachtree iNova Amplifier
Every dorm room needs that one pièce de résistance to salvage the bare-bones desk-and-bed setup, and what does the trick better than some minimalist audio gear? The iNova tacks on an iPod dock, but it's much more than a play-and-charge solution: it boasts an 80 watts-per-channel amplifier, a digital-to-analog converter and a class A headphone amplifier.
Price: $1,819 on Amazon
Engadget's Back to School Giveaway
No Purchase Required to Enter or Win
Engadget's Back to School Giveaway (the "Giveaway") is open only to individuals who are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States (including the District of Columbia) and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 years of age or older. Employees of Weblogs Inc. LLC, AOL Inc., their advertising or promotion agencies, those involved in the production, development, implementation or handling of Giveaways, any agents acting for, or on behalf of the above entities, their respective parent companies, officers, directors, subsidiaries, affiliates, licensees, service providers, prize suppliers any other person or entity associated with the Giveaways (collectively "Giveaway Entities") and/or the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members (whether related or not) of each such employee, are not eligible. All U.S., federal, state and local and Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void in Quebec, Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. Sponsor:
The Giveaway is sponsored by Weblogs Inc. LLC, 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 ("Sponsor"). Agreement to Official Rules:
Participation in the Giveaway constitutes entrant's full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein. Giveaway Period:
The Giveaway begins at 12:00 pm ET on August 6, 2012 and ends at 12:00 pm ET on September 7, 2012 (the "Giveaway Period"). The Giveaway Period shall be divided into fifteen (15) separate Entry Periods: Entry Period 1
begins at 12PM ET on August 6, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 2
begins at 1PM ET on August 6, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 3
begins at 12PM ET on August 7, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 4
begins at 12PM ET on August 8, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 5
begins at 12PM ET on August 9, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 6
begins at 12PM ET on August 10, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 7
begins at 12PM ET on August 13, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 8
begins at 12PM ET on August 15, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 9
begins at 12PM ET on August 17, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 10
begins at 12PM ET on August 20, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 11
begins at 12PM ET on August 22, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 12
begins at 12PM ET on August 24, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 13
begins at 12PM ET on August 27, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 14
begins at 12PM ET on August 29, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry Period 15
begins at 12PM ET on August 31, 2012 and ends at 12PM ET on September 7, 2012. Entry:
During the Giveaway Period, go to engadget.com/2012/08/06/back-to-school-giveaway
and follow the instructions to submit your entry. The use of any agencies or automated software to submit entries will void all entries submitted by that person. Drawing:
At the conclusion of the Giveaway Period, Sponsor will select the name of one (1) Grand Prize Winner from each of the fifteen (15) Entry Periods in a random drawing of all eligible entries received during each Entry Period. The odds of being selected as a potential winner depend on the number of eligible entries received during the applicable Entry Period. Potential Winners will be contacted via email and asked to provide their full name, age and mailing address within a specified time period. If a potential winner does not respond within the timeframe stated in the notification email, the Sponsor may select an alternate potential winner in his/her place at random from all entries received during the Entry Period. Non-winning entries from one Entry Period do not carry over into subsequent Entry Periods. Requirements of the Potential Winners:
Except where prohibited, the potential winners will be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release (the "Affidavit/Release") and IRS W-9 form within seven (7) days of being notified. If a potential winner fails to sign and return the Affidavit/Release and W-9 form within the required time period, an alternate entrant may be selected in his/her place in a random drawing of all entries received. Acceptance of a prize constitutes consent to use winner's name and likeness for editorial, advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation, except where prohibited by law. In the event the potential winner of any prize is a Canadian resident, he/she will also be required to correctly answer a time-limited mathematical question to be administered by email, mail or phone to receive the prize. Limit one (1) prize per household. Prizes:
Fifteen (15) Grand Prize Winners will each receive a Back to School Prize Pack containing the following items: HP Envy Ultrabook 4, Sony NEX-F3, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0), Samsung Galaxy S III (AT&T), Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, AiAiAi Capital headphones, Western Digital My Passport (1TB) hard drive, Timbuk2 Commute Messenger laptop bag, Flying Alarm Clock, AOC 16" USB monitor, Spotify Premium subscription (1 year), Satechi Energy Station, Edifier Tick Tock, Satechi 12-port USB hub, NuForce Cube, Withings WiFi Scale, Powermat 24-hour system, Carbonite Backup (1 year), AViiQ Ready Chips, and Targus Defcon 1 lock. Approximate Retail Value of each Prize Pack is $3,203. Subscriptions are subject to issuer's terms and conditions. Activation fees and monthly service fees not included with any smartphone/digital devices. No cash or other substitution may be made, except by the Sponsor, who reserves the right to substitute a prize or portion of a prize with another prize of equal or greater value if the prize is not available for any reason as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion. Winners are responsible for any taxes and fees associated with receipt or use of a prize. General Conditions:
In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Giveaway is impaired in any way for any reason, including, but not limited to fraud, virus, or other technical problem, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Giveaway to address the impairment and then resume the Giveaway in a manner that best conforms to the spirit of these Official Rules; or (b) award the prizes at random from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment. The Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Giveaway or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Any attempt by any person to undermine the legitimate operation of the Giveaway may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. The Sponsor's failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. In case of a dispute as to the owner of an entry, entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the screen name from which the entry is made. The authorized account holder is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. Release and Limitations of Liability:
By participating in the Giveaway, entrants agree to release, defend indemnify and hold harmless the Giveaway Entities from and against any claim or cause of action, including without limitation, any third party claim, arising out of participation in the Giveaway or receipt, use or misuse of any prize, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention in the Giveaway; (b) technical errors related to computers, servers, providers, or telephone or network lines; (c) printing errors; (d) lost, late, postage-due, misdirected, or undeliverable mail; (e) errors in the administration of the Giveaway or the processing of entries; or (f) injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant's participation in the Giveaway or receipt, use or misuse of any prize. Entrant further agrees that in any cause of action, the Giveaway Entities' liability will be limited to the cost of entering and participating in the Giveaway, and in no event shall the Giveaway Entities be liable for attorney's fees. Entrant waives the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages.
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Giveaway Results: To request the names of the winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Engadget Back to School Giveaway Winners, 770 Broadway, Attn: J. Turi, New York, NY 10003. Requests must be received by September 30, 2012.