Intempo RDI-02 iPod dock: Apple rumble

By Jack Ratcliffe,

Steve Jobs once stood up and said, “an iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator. These are not three separate devices. This is one device.” And in a single act of technological convergence, Apple changed the face of the mobile phone industry. The developers at Intempo also believe in uniting functionality, which is why they made the RDI iPhone dock with built-in DAB radio. And then, again like Apple, they made a newer version that blew the old one away – the RDI-02.

Intempo iPod dock

The built-in DAB radio is the key difference between an Intempo RDI-02 and a normal iPod dock. Intempo has been pushing DAB technology from the very start, and its advanced digital radios have filled houses around the UK for years.

It also means that they’re experts at packing a lot of sound from a very small space, which is what they’ve improved on over the RDI-01. Despite retaining the same, compact form, the engineers at Intempo have managed to squeeze in speakers that produce a huge 50 watts. The output comes from two mid-range speakers, accompanied by a bass-boosting sub-woofer.
While no-one has had a chance to play with one yet, CNET’s review of the older model seems like a fair summary of the Intempo sound: “

On the whole, sound quality’s pretty good for the price. Although a little heavy in the high-end, audio is well-driven and volume booms up to a good level. A little acoustic rock from Dashboard Confessional highlighted the RDI’s bright sound, but also that it offers enough oomph to give the floor a bit of a rumble.”

With the RDI-02’s bigger output (up from the 30 watts of the previous model), that “bit of a rumble” is sure to be more far more earth-shaking than before.

The other major upgrade is on the controls. Gone are the buttons of yester-year (another thing Apple helped innovate away), replaced by a touch-panel. This not only makes the piano black device more attractive, but it also feels more futuristic.
There’s a remote control (with 23 buttons, so much touch-panel there), letting you remotely change even the most nitty-gritty settings like treble and bass. It also includes a menu key to access all of your iPod settings and playlists, as well as up to 16 radio presets.

Our personal favourite touch, however, is the alarm clock. You can choose to wake up to a traditional buzzer, the radio or, and this is the best part, your favourite tunes from your iPod. Personally, we recommend recording an MP3 of a loved one gently whispering in your ear, ala Cameron Diaz in Vanilla Sky.

The DAB and FM radio itself has all the functions you’d expect from a brand like Intempo. There’s a pretty decent autoscan, and a simple button for switching between DAB or FM – as well as the iPod speaker dock. If your iPod or iPhone is away on leave, you can tuck the pull-out dock away to leave an almost seamless-looking radio.

If you are an iPhone user, it’ll even let you answer your phone while rocking out, automatically cutting in to a song when you receive a call. And if you’re not an Apple user at all, there is also an AUX-IN port for plugging in other audio devices via the 3.5mm mini-jack.