When iPod speaker docks began to surface a few years ago, we looked at them as a novelty item--something that you'd splurge on if you had the cash. But now that the iPod and iPhone have become ubiquitous, it's getting harder and harder to find a radio or audio system without an iPod dock. Following in the great American tradition of "some is good, more is better," then, it's only natural for the next evolutionary step of these products to double down on their iPod support.
The NX-PN7 from JVC is one of the first dual iPod speaker docks that we've seen. It allows you to simultaneously play and charge two iPods with dock connections. Interestingly enough, JVC does not advertise the PN7 as an "alarm clock" but instead uses the word "timer." The device has three programmable timers that can be set to go off using any source, but there is no mention of this feature as an "alarm." We're not entirely sure why JVC did this, though the curious nomenclature might be because there is no snooze button anywhere on the speaker dock.
We really liked the design of the PN7, which combines a silver-trimmed vintage look with some modern characteristics. For one, the 6-pound unit allows you to assign one of nine bright LED colors to either dock. While there is no functional purpose to these colors, it certainly does give the system a unique style. That said, some might find it tacky, and there's no way to turn the colors off.
All of the unit's functions can be accessed via a row of buttons on the front lower panel of the speaker dock. The controls are logically laid out and easy to use. Alternately, you can opt for the included credit-card-style remote. Unlike many competing units, the remote allows full iPod navigation. The catch is that you still need to be close enough to see the music player's screen, so it's a bit of a wash.
Measuring 12.5 inches by 6 inches by 6 inches (WHD), the PN7 is small enough to be placed nearly anywhere you'd like, including most nightstands or bookshelves. Around the right side of the PN7 is where you'll find additional connectivity ports. There's an audio-in for devices not supported by the docks, and a video output should you want to view a video or photo from a compatible iPod. There's also a 1/8-inch headphone jack for private listening. The PN7 also offers AM/FM radio playback, including the ability to store a whopping 45 station presets (30 FM, 15 AM). However, you can only program and cycle through these presets using the remote control.