Logitech's Pure-Fi Dream is aimed with a sniper's precision at a very specific part of your home: your bedside table. It's not intended to be used simply as an iPod-compatible alarm clock, though, but as a room-filling audio system that adapts to its surroundings with the use of clever light and motion sensors.
With a £160 price tag, it needs to sound at least as good as the Tannoy i30 with which it shares a design style, unless its bedroom features blow us away. That's going to be tough. It's on sale now and we're going to make it sweat as we put it through its paces.
Weight -- the Dream has lots of it. It's a heavy piece of kit for what is essentially a tricked-out alarm clock, and Logitech hasn't cut any corners in terms of construction. It's always terrific to see this kind of fabulous build quality in an iPod speaker system.
Inside is a pair of 19mm (3/4-inch) tweeters that complement two 76mm (3-inch) woofers -- all front-facing behind cloth grilles. Between these sits your iPod, underneath which is a crisp and easy-to-read LCD screen that displays song information and more.
Notably absent is a headphone socket. This isn't a massive issue for iPod use, but if you want to listen to the radio on headphones you're out of luck.
On top are almost all buttons and controls, including a pair of iPod-like scroll wheels. One of these lets you seek through the song currently playing, which is a feature we so rarely see.
The unique feature of these controls is their motion- and light-sensing ability. For example, during night-time playback, simply putting your hand above the Dream causes the entire button layout to glow in a calm yellow. Very useful. The remote control is backlit, too.
Activating the alarm's snooze function simply requires you to wave your hand above the system -- no banging the huge snooze button, no accidental fist-related iPod breakages.
If your house suffers a power failure in the night, a 9V battery acts as a backup to ensure you don't sleep through your alarm. It can't power the backlights, radio or iPod, but it will maintain the internal clock and sound the default buzzer alarm when it's time to wake up.
This isn't all Logitech has thought of. After all, this iPod system isn't just an alarm clock. It's also possible to assign each of the six preset buttons on the Dream to any playlist saved on your iPod. When it's docked, you can simply hit one of these buttons -- on the system itself or the remote control -- to begin playback of the assigned playlist. These can also be used as alarm tones.
It's not a system for Grandma, but most people should find the Dream a dream to use. It's intuitively designed, with clear menus and simple operation. We wouldn't expect any tech-savvy user to even open the instruction manual -- we certainly didn't need to.
As for sound quality, it's sonically different to the somewhat-similar Tannoy i30 we mentioned earlier, but it's easily on-par -- some people will probably even prefer it. It's a great little performer, and should be listened to by manufacturers that want a benchmark for their new £100+ iPod speakers.
There's a good deal of bass present, with plenty of punch and kick in the mid-range. Heavily layered and complex music sounds a little less impressive, simply because the drivers can't cope with deep bass as well as entire drum kits and guitars, but in this price range it's far better than acceptable.
The only people who may be a little disappointed are drum 'n' bass fans who crave the low-end rumble the songs in that genre rely on. The Dream simply can't extend its sonic reach down to those levels, so the very low bass lines tend to sound slightly hollow.
For the most part it's a powerful little system, with great sound quality for the price, a stonking design and build and a really well thought-out feature set and implementation. Almost nobody will be disappointed.
If you fancy DAB radio instead of the FM and AM on offer in the Dream, look to Intempo's RDi. You'll lose some great features and sound quality, but if DAB plus iPod equals bliss, you should at least check our review.
Edited by Nick Hide