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Engadget's holiday gift guide 2011: docks

Welcome to the Engadget Holiday Gift Guide! We're well aware of the heartbreaking difficulties surrounding the seasonal shopping experience, so we're here to help you sort out this year's tech treasures. Below is today's bevy of curated picks, and you can head back to the Gift Guide hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the holiday season.

'Tis the season to go shopping and slightly broke! Unless you're living off the grid, you can't escape the marketing merriment amping up the arrival of that most wonderful time of the year. You know, the one where loved ones run themselves ragged skipping from store to store in an attempt to find the perfect gift that just screams, "I care," and costs a pretty penny, too. Well, we know things can get hectic and the options overwhelming, but for the music aficionado in your family, you can't really go wrong with a speaker dock. Let's face it, even Great Aunt Eddie's rockin' a portable media player these days. So, why not help her get up off the couch, out of her mind and into a living room hoedown with a wall of MP3 sound? Lucky for you, we've whittled down the dizzying array of digital audio offerings into a handy guide fit for the frugal and lavish alike. Need a little inspiration? Then head on past the break to peruse the goods and get psyched for that onslaught of holiday cheer.

On the cheap

Yamaha PDX-11

Engadget's holiday gift guide 2011 docks

Need to blast those beats as you strut in style through the streets? Yeah, Yamaha's got you covered with a speaker dock for iPods and iPhones that looks like a drum and bangs out thumping bass. This portable piece of octagonal audio comes ruggedized, so you won't have to worry too much when "band practice" gets out of hand. Oh, and it's got a 3.5mm jack that should play nicely with any other PMPs you happen to be packing.

Key specs: Ruggedized, 4-inch woofer, 1 and 3/8-inch tweeter, battery-powered, remote control, weighs 4.8 pounds.

Price: $99 on Amazon

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Engadget's holiday gift guide 2011 docks

CableJive dockBoss+

Jumped ship from the iPod bandwagon? Good thing then that CableJive whipped up this converter solution. Pairing a micro-USB and audio plug with a 30-pin adapter, this alt-dock lets you make the most of your one-time, Apple-only stereo.

Price: From $22 on Amazon

Engadget's holiday gift guide 2011 docks

JBL On Stage Micro III

Interesting design at a sub-$100 price point? JBL's nailed that one on the head with this AAA-powered, ultraportable speaker that'll eke out a full 24 hours worth of jams before calling it quits.

Price: $71 from Amazon


Philips Fidelio AS851

Engadget's holiday gift guide 2011 docks

Do Androids dream of high-fidelity sound? Why yes, they do, and Philips has seen fit to adapt its line of audio docks to accommodate the Googlefied handset powering your tunes. Whether you're a portrait or landscape fan, the micro-USB connector here will adapt to that orientation, syncing up your library of songs with the aid of trusty 'ol Bluetooth and a dedicated app.

Key specs: FlexiDock for portrait or landscape orientation, USB port for charging, remote control, Bluetooth, weighs 7.2 pounds.

Price: $199 on Amazon

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Engadget's holiday gift guide 2011 docks


Need a home for that collection of iOS devices? JVC's created an all-in-one station that does the double duty of seating and streaming music from both your iPad and iPhone/iPod, if you're so inclined.

Price: $163 on Amazon

Engadget's holiday gift guide 2011 docks

Soundfreaq SFQ-1

This sleek and stylish Sound Stack for audiophiles streams your lossless AAC tracks and even offers an old-school FM tuner, courtesy of a free Android / iOS remote app.

Price: $176 on Amazon

Money's no object

Harman Kardon MS 150

Engadget's holiday gift guide 2011 docks

There's no elegance to Harman Kardon's chunky bad boy, just pure audio power and an open invitation to the music source of your choice. The MS 150 packs a CD player, FM radio tuner and iPhone / iPod dock alongside a bevy of auxiliary input options, so you'll never be at a loss when it's time to pump up the impromptu dance party jams. Sure the $599 price tag might sting a little, but that's why they call it the "gift of giving."

Key specs: Dual 30W subwoofers, universal docking station, slot-loading CD player, FM radio tuner, Bluetooth, weighs 18 pounds.

Price: $599 on Amazon

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Engadget's holiday gift guide 2011 docks

Sony RDP-X500iP

The company once synonymous wth portable audio has opened up its sound dock gate to make way for a certain "magical" slate. Sony's also jazzed this system up with magnetic fluid speakers and Clear Phase DSP wizardry -- whatever that means.

Price: $298 on Amazon

Engadget's holiday gift guide 2011 docks

JBL On Air Wireless AirPlay

Because docks and wires are so yesterday, JBL's AirPlay-enabled sonic stand offers an optional wireless connection that bridges to your Apple wares, freeing you to play DJ from any room in the house.

Price: $299 on Amazon

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