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Accessory Review: Philips Fidelio AS351 Speaker Dock For Android Devices

We were very happy to receive one of Philips’ anticipated docking stations for Android in the mail a little while ago and knew that lots of people have been looking for something just like this. Finally, a docking station for our Android devices that has good quality speakers that can rock the house and charge our devices at the same time. A simple device that turned a bit complicated due to software constraints and silly ‘non-existent’ requirements. Let me try to explain.

I have needed something like this on my desk for a long time. Something I could just plug my phone into and have some good tunes going in the background. The dock sounds great. Excellent low ends and clear highs. It’s good for any type of music in my opinion, and I usually strive to have a good taste in music. The design itself is great and can fit most Android devices with no issue, so size/device compatibility shouldn’t be an issue if you plan on picking one up.

It connects through Bluetooth and AUX but they intend for you to use Bluetooth. You can play music by just having your phone/tablet in range of the device and you only need it connected if you want to charge your phone. This is where I became semi-frustrated with it. It states that users need an app from the Market called, Songbird to use it right when you first load it up. Okay, that makes sense. Maybe I need an app to use a custom interface that Philips has made for the dock. Nope, they just want you to download Songbird. It’s not needed to use the dock and it was quite misleading when it kept prompting me to download Songbird after opening the needed Philips Fidelio application.

 

The Philips Fidelio app from the Market is an actual requirement. It’s used as a mediator between your phone and the dock, but it kind of hurts that I can’t just use Android’s native Bluetooth controls to set it up. These issues will only bug some who happen to constantly be plugging and unplugging your device. If you’re at the office though, and leave your phone plugged in all day, you’ll notice little problems.

There is a saving grace though. The dock comes with an AUX input and it comes with a cable. You can simply plug and play which is a life saver if you find yourself having troubles with the Bluetooth. Only problem is, if you decide to use the AUX option, depending on which device you use (I have the Nexus S running through it), you can kiss your charging hopes goodbye since it docks through the bottom and has the speaker cable coming from the same area. There just isn’t enough room.

The dock runs on AC but can also run on batteries. 4 AA’s to be exact. So you can set this bad boy up wherever you go. Camping, out fishing on the boat, or maybe your cars speakers are blown. Whichever your mobile audio purposes are, the Philips dock should be able to meet your needs. Beyond some of the smaller frustrations that I wish did not exist at all, it does exactly what I had hoped it would. Plays music great, looks wonderful on my desk, and charges my device. Can’t ask for much more from a docking station.

You can find yourself one of these Fidelio for Android (AS351) docks at Amazon for just $129. Thinking of picking one up?

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  • http://twitter.com/TalkingTechy Tony Jabs

    The Bionic looks rather large mounted landscape in the dock.

    Does this large phone block sound waves from the speakers, making it sound muffled?

  • http://twitter.com/TalkingTechy Tony Jabs

    Bluetooth? Is the sound compressed like crazy to run this? They can’t make it work through the USB port?

    Is the charger compatible if the phone has a MHL port?

    This is a nice “workaround” of a stereo dock, but nothing beats the simplicity of iPhone’s stereo docks. Dock it, and you can start charging and playing music from any app now…right NOW. No bluetooth silliness.

  • Anonymous

    As others have said, Nice product but trying to shove songbird down my throat is a guarantee that I will never buy it )even if I liked the app).  Why can’t manufacturers just concentrate on good product without trying to force you to buy or use unnecessary crap.

  • Anonymous

    I saw it at Best Buy. My Thunderbolt did not fit it very well especially with case and extended battery as it fell over even with the micro adjustments they have.  A USB port in the middle of the side or middle of the bottom would do better.  The sound is uninspiring but for bedside more than adequate.  But I did listen to it right after listening to the Beat Pro headphones located just next to it…

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes I wish Android phones had a standardized dock port all manufacturers could use.  It’s kind of Apple-ish, but it would be nice if any phone could hook up to an accessory with ease, and just one connection.  I think it would make it easier for third party accessory builders.

  • http://twitter.com/James_C_L James C. L.

    They seemed to have missed the right price point. I’d pay about $79.99 for this.

  • Lee Long

    Pass, maybe they’ll change some things in the next version, but that sounds like too much going against it for the money…I would want to charge and use aux because I’ve heard too much bad about bluetooth music quality…

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    lol I cracked up when he said “or maybe your car speakers are blown”. Really? I dunno, I thought it was funny. This thing is great for one thing imo. Mobility. It is a quick and easy solution to listening to music. But I think  you will sacrifice on sound quality. But lets be honest, most people aren’t buying this for SQ. But really, if your car speakers are blown? Lol. Come on DL! 

  • Anonymous

    tiny.cc/qcfnd

  • Mikey D

    you have to use bluetooth when docked? can it just play with out it? I guess I will just wait a lil bit longer for one.

  • Anonymous

    Does it come with a remote that operates the phone?  If not, it isn’t worth $129.00.  The ONLY thing I miss when it comes to the iPhone is the accessories and items such as this.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    I can finally make an Android ‘DJ Roomba’!

  • Lakerzz

    Sounds good, but I personally need a lithium ion rechargeable battery for something like this. That would’ve been “icing on the cake” imo…

  • Chiilguy60657

    I purchased the Monster Clarity Hd from Amazon.  It is a super compact, stereo BT speaker and handsfree device.  The sound is surprisingly true for such a small device; it charges via usb and lasts forever on a single charge; the speakerphone quality is excellent.  For the price, it makes a great, portable, multi-purpose device.

  • Warlike1919

    This is maybe something can get the wife for our birthday

  • Anonymous

    $29 YES
    $129 NO!

  • Jake

    Does this or any other bluetooth portable speaker have buttons for A2DP control (play/pause, skip/forward, back/reverse)? My stereo bluetooth headphones have them and I love the convenience.

    • Jake

      I said A2DP; I mean AVRCP. I’m checking out reviews for a few different speakers now. Anyone have a recommendation based on personal experience?

  • http://www.matthewdlyons.com/ matthewdlyons

    Womp Womp! I’ll stick with my Bose SoundLink, which has WiFi and Bluetooth built in — no software or apps necessary.

    • Anonymous

      Too bad it’s $300. :(

  • Azndan4

    Overpriced and repeatedly annoys you until you install Songbird.  Sounds like a losing product.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LQNNJDZQIWIIHJWUIUV7R24XAM Aaron

    Aux in on my already multiple stereo systems for me.

  • tiptoptommy

    The jambox is way better although its 199 at most retailers.

  • http://www.kevinkuramura.com KevK

    “Their is a saving grace though.”
    I’m not a grammar Nazi. Okay, maybe I am a little bit. Regardless, this is the kind of thing that keeps DL only slightly above Gizmodo quality in my mind. If you’re happy with that position, fine. I’ll keep reading the blog either way. I’d just love it if the writers kicked up their journalism skills a bit, esp. “Tim-o-tato.”

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      It bothers you that much…..wow

      • http://www.kevinkuramura.com KevK

        it bothers me enough for me to speak up, yes. Clearly it doesn’t bother me that much if I plan to keep reading the blog. It’s just honest feedback. If I put in all the effort to keep up a well-informed blog, I’d want to know what I could do to improve the whole package.

        • Mr. English

          Funny how many people trashed you for editing. Too bad we live in the “good enough” world that surrounds us. Personally, when I make a mistake in writing, I hope someone catches it and corrects it. Otherwise I could look like a high school drop-out. There are those of us that appreciate people taking the details seriously, so to offset the mediocrity that’s apparent in the posts, I say good catch. 

    • DR

      HA! Just because you say something such as, “I’m not a grammar Nazi”, doesn’t make it true.  You are being the grammar Gestapo, which are some of the worst types of grammar Nazis

    • Dr Piranha

      I agree. I’m an avid DL reader and really love the content, but Tim is one of the worst “writers” that I’ve seen on any Android blog. There is one worse “blogger” (from a different site) that comes to mind, but I’ll reserve my opinion of him for the appropriate time and place.

      • Hhhmmm…

        I’m sorry, but I have to agree on this point also. I’m a long time lurker who almost never comments, but by the way this article flows when reading it, and it doesn’t, it sounds like it was written by a stuttering 13/year old…  =/

        • Anonymous

          Wow guys, give the guy a break, mistakes happen. 

      • http://www.droid-life.com Tim-o-tato

        Thanks for the feedback. /me goes to cry in corner

        • Anonymous

          Poor Tim-o.

        • Adam Elghor

          i love tim…no homo

          • http://androidforums.com/members/kwest12.html kwest12

            I also love tim… all homo     =-O

    • http://www.droid-life.com Tim-o-tato

      One word. Sorry, sir. Thanks for the good eye. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/TJHRULZ tjhrulz

        Quick suggestion, copy pasta to word beforehand it will catch the obvious mistakes like that one. Then everyone can be happy!

        Edit: Well except those that wanted the news a minute faster

    • http://profiles.google.com/42istheanswer.whatsthequestion Joe T

      There is an unfortunate lack of grammatical finesse in the English speaking world today.  

      There’s no reason not to be (almost used a split infinitive there) a grammar ‘Nazi'; in fact, I think these people are doing the world a huge favor by maintaining the elegance of the English language when used properly.  Sure, you get yelled at from time to time by the ignorant folk who think that this stuff is unnecessary, but those people should think about this:  If readers and writers want to use English properly, and see it used properly, and you have no problem with reading grammatically incorrect texts, why bother arguing AGAINST those who wish to use it properly?  In fact, being good at recognizing grammatical mistakes can help you stay away from poorly made phishing sites on the web, like battlelog.org (read the page title, and yes, I know it’s not technically a phishing site, but it’s not made by DICE).  

      There’s also no reason to be ashamed for screwing up a homophone once in a while, or breaking some other rule.  Heck, I screw up the whole its and it’s thing from time to time.  I think Tim-o-tato handled this very nicely and with great elegance; acknowledging his error, correcting it, and thanking the correction-maker.  

      For me, grammatical slip-ups are jarring, and make me lose sight of the actual text of the article a bit.  For others, maybe not so much.  People ought not to complain (again, also screwed up with the split infinitive!) about others correcting grammar, as it obviously makes no difference to the silent majority.  If I were to argue that the ‘coloring’ of quarks in quantum mechanics is not misleading, and you don’t care either way, why would you bother arguing that it is?

      By the way, in order to practice what I preach, I encourage you all to find grammatical errors in this comment.  Actually, I challenge you to do so.  

      • http://www.kevinkuramura.com KevK

        I have more of a bone to pick with your lack of concision and timeliness. Who’s going to check the comments on this article five days later except the one person who gets notified of a reply? :P

  • http://profiles.google.com/jdr327 JEFF Ringel

    I have this dock and it works without the Fidelio App. I do not know why it said it does not in the review, but I can 100% say this is incorrect. I downloaded the app when I first got the dock and decided to uninstall it once I saw it did not add anything that was needed. I use this speaker everyday via Bluetooth (minus the Fidelio App) with my Sirius XM app and Google Music. It sounds great, it looks great and I think it is high time Android Users can have a portable speaker meant for Android. 

    • http://www.droid-life.com Tim-o-tato

      I have found, that when using the AUX feature you don’t need the Fidelio app, but when I try connecting to Bluetooth without the app, it will not find the device. Same for you, or can you connect through Bluetooth without the Fidelio app?

      Please let me know.

      • http://profiles.google.com/jdr327 JEFF Ringel

        I can connect through the Bluetooth without the Fidelio App. It has never been a problem for me. 

  • Anonymous

    This is one area where “fragmentation” really does make it a pain for us Android users. The truth is not all Android phones have their USB and headphone ports in the same area. Doesn’t bother me though, where we lack a unified design, we get a much more customizable and open OS to work with. No proprietary ports or software we HAVE to work with.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jdr327 JEFF Ringel

      It does not matter where your USB port is. It is set up to fit a USB port no matter where it is on the phone. That is the beauty of this speaker. It is meant for Android You can put just about any Android phone on it. 

      • Anonymous

        I understand that, but if you read the review you would notice that the location of the USB port and headphone jack are on the bottom of the Nexus S, so it is not possible to charge and play via AUX with the Nexus S (something that would be the same case, I assume, with the Galaxy Nexus).
        They have to make this device so that it can fit a bunch of models, but I don’t think there is a design to fit EVERY single Android phone.

        • http://profiles.google.com/jdr327 JEFF Ringel

          Yes in the situation you are describing you cannot use the AUX and charge at the same time. But there is not need to use the AUX and charge at the same time if you are using the Bluetooth. Just use the Bluetooth connection and charge away. 

    • Firelight

      This is solved. The dock changes position & even rotates the USB connector depending out your device.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, glowing review. :-(

    I think I’ll keep my $129 instead and use my FM stereo with “line in” jack.

    So, what did the SongBird app do at all?  I don’t think you ever said.  Why would they say it is required if it isn’t?  Do they get royalties or something off of ad revenue in the app?

    • Sp4rxx

      eBay…. after a few weeks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ab-Gar/538974072 Ab Gar

    3.5mm audio cable is just .99c and can plug into any stereo worth plugging into.. 

    • Jarred Sutherland

      Or free if you take them from other people who have no idea what they are for! 

      • Anonymous

        You mean like my I.T department at work?!… Sad right?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/vespadaddy Dan Peters

    No thanks.  For $129, I expect it to offer easier use and it better sound *great*.

  • razrftw

    it doesnt seem like its worth all the hassles…

    • Jarred Sutherland

      Not to mention, these can’t be good/great speakers .. speakers that small, don’t actually really sound good.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, but speakers that are large don’t generally carry well and run well on a few AAs.

      • Anonymous

        Then you may have never owned a Bose speaker. I use to have 7.1 surround sound and upgraded to a 1-2-3 Bose system, a base and two smalls speakers, and the sound is beyond amazing!

        But I am not vouching for this device, I am just stating that ‘small’ does not necessarily mean ‘weak’