A little powerhouse that needs a minor tweak.
While most of us are happy to go about our lives listening to music through headphones, on some occasions you need to break out of your shell and listen to a song on full blast. So rather than permanently damage your hearing, it’s often a good idea to plug in a pair of speakers into your phone or mp3 player and dance to your heart’s content. Docking stations are nothing new, having become the modern equivalent of the much-loved ‘boom box’ of the 90s. LG’s recent foray into this is range comes in the form of the LG ND5520, a docking station for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
Design & Build Quality
The ND5520 comes in a very sleek white color, offset by the light grey speaker grille in the front. There is a touch-capable white square on the front as well that acts as a control for selecting an input source and volume control. You can also swipe in four different directions to do various things like skipping tracks or select items, or switching input sources.
At the back of the device are controls to adjust the alarm and clock, as well as a port to connect an FM antenna to tune into local radio stations. There’s also a Port In to allow you to connect a device via a 3.5mm audio jack, as well as USB port to play music directly off a thumb drive.
Connectivity and Features
The ND5520 allows for a number of connectivity options, most of which worked properly. The simplest is the Port In jack, which takes a 3.5mm cable that connects to any device such as a laptop, mp3 player, or mobile phone. If you’ve got a Bluetooth-enabled device, you can quickly pair up the ND5520 and being streaming your music – the range was very good and there was absolutely no distortion in the sound quality. Next you have a USB option which lets you play music off a compatible hard drive or thumb drive, which again worked well. Even with tracks buried in folders, the ND5520 was able to ferret them all out and queue them for playing. The FM option was a nice touch as well, though good luck finding a radio station that won’t bombard you with adverts every fifteen seconds.
The main selling point of the ND5520 is of course only evident when you dock a device into it. The 30-pin connector on the left will connect easily to your iPhone (4S and earlier), iPad, or iPod while charging it at the same time. What’s handy for iOS devices is as soon as I docked my iPhone, I was prompted to download the optional Bluetooth remote from the App Store, which lets you control the ND5520 from the comfort of your phone. It’s not mandatory to download the app, but it’s a nice touch and makes accessibility so much more easier. Once docked, all audio is output via the ND5520, so everything from the Music app to YouTube can be enjoyed at full blast. There’s a handy iPad stand that slots in just behind the connector so that your iPad fits securely while docked.
Things got a little bit awkward however when I tried to dock an Android phone into the ND5520. You’ll only be able to stream music using the Bluetooth option, as docking the Android device will only charge it. The only fussy thing is that different smartphone manufacturers place the charging port in different locations, so while LG places it at the base of their smartphones, other manufacturers place it on the side, which can make for some rather awkward docking options.
The sound quality on the ND5520 for most songs – the bass is deep and sounds great, excelling of course in dance tracks and songs with a heavy drum line. Instrumental music also sounded great, with subtle instruments still managing to stand out amidst a full orchestra. There were some vocal tracks that disappointed a little bit, as it seems like the ND5520 was meant more for blasting dubstep and rock than listening to power ballads. There’s no equalizer so you can’t tweak any of the settings, which is a bit of a shame. But despite this you can enjoy some quality audio that’s loud enough to power your living room or even a slightly larger space.
The LG ND5520 is a solid little docking station that provides a decent amount of connectivity options regardless of what device you’re using. It’s great at producing solid bass tracks but falls slightly short for vocals by just a little bit. Still, it’s a great purchase for anyone looking for a sleek and well-designed docking station to add to their living space.