Editors' note: The Boston Acoustics Duo-i Plus is nearly identical to the Horizon Duo-i we reviewed a year ago. Not a lot has changed since then aside from the addition of full support for iPhone playback. While the Horizon Duo-i worked with the iPhone, the device had to be set to "airplane mode" to prevent interference.
Recently, we looked at two tabletop audio products from Boston Acoustics: the Horizon i-DS2 iPod speaker and the Horizon Solo clock radio. Both of them offered superior sound, but left us wanting more. That's where the Boston Acoustics Duo-i Plus comes in: it's essentially the two aforementioned products combined into one.
The Duo-i Plus is customizable via the Boston Acoustics "Personal Options Plan" available on the company's Web site. There you can choose from a number of colored grilles to personalize your device for around $15 a pop.
The Duo-i Plus is covered in a glossy plastic coating and is easy to carry and transport. It's a bit heavier than the previous Boston models, weighing 8.5 pounds. It also is a lot deeper, measuring 5.5 inches tall by 13 inches wide by 8 inches deep. It could still probably fit on a nightstand, but you may want to place it somewhere you can afford the extra real estate.
What separates the Duo-i Plus from its competitors is its incredible ease of use. We were happy to see the controls were laid out the same way as we found on the Horizon Solo. The three rubber knobs make it easy to customize your listening experience. Whether it's setting radio presets (10 FM, 5 AM) or adjusting alarms, the layout is logical and easy to use.
The Duo-i Plus allows you to set two separate alarms to either tone, radio, or iPod playback. When set, the alarms will gradually increase the volume of the source. A cool feature we enjoyed is the unit's silver rim that circles the periphery of the entire face--this is actually a touch-sensitive snooze button that worked perfectly in our testing.
We tested the Duo-i Plus with a number of iPods. The unit supports all fourth-generation and higher iPods with a dock connection and includes a series of adapters to fit each model. This Boston model also includes the iPod Touch and iPhone since now it's an officially certified device. You won't need to toggle the phone to airplane mode as there is built-in shielding to prevent interference. We were also glad to see a video output port on the unit's rear for those iPods capable of playing video files. We hooked the Duo-i Plus up to our TV via a composite wire with no problems. (Just make sure your iPod is set to TV-Out when using this mode.)