For starters, like the iYiYi, the Logitech AudioStation provides a large, easy-to-read clock. (On the other hand, unlike nearly every other system we've tested that provides a clock, the Logitech AudioStation doesn't include an alarm function, an odd omission that prevents the AudioStation from being a nearly-perfect bedroom system. Although you at least get a sleep function that automatically turns off the system after as little as 5 or as many as 180 minutes.)

You can control many of the system's functions using the touchscreen buttons below the screen. During audio playback, pressing the Select button cycles between displaying the clock, a "spectrum analyser" visualiser, or, in the case of the radio, the current frequency (and, optionally, FM RDS information). Accessible using the remote control's Menu button are onscreen menus for adjusting bass and treble levels; screen brightness (as mentioned above, separate settings for when the system is on and off); and iPod backlight (when this feature is enabled, your iPod's backlight is turned on whenever you use any of the AudioStation's controls).

The Logitech AudioStation's radio can tune from 87.9 to 108.1 in increments of 0.2 on the FM band, and from 520 to 1710 in increments of 10 on the AM side. Overall radio performance is decent as iPod stereo systems go. On stronger stations, the AudioStation's FM tuner pulls in a clear, static-free signal; however, the tuner isn't as sensitive or selective as that of Tivoli's iYiYi - the best such radio we've tested - so weaker stations were received with a good amount of static. AM performance was only fair, with only the strongest of local stations being listenable, even when using the included loop antenna instead of the internal antenna.

The Logitech AudioStation's radio offers three tuning modes: Step (the normal frequency-by-frequency tuning mode, which is fairly slow), Scan (which searches for the next "tunable" station), and Preset (which cycles through presets you've saved -- up to 8 AM and 16 FM); you switch between modes by holding down the Select button for approximately one second. My only complaint here is that the Scan mode is a bit too sensitive; most of the frequencies on which the radio automatically stops aren't clear enough for listening.

In FM mode, you can opt - via the Select button - to display RDS data (station name, track and artist name) on the screen. Unfortunately, this feature didn't work consistently in my testing, as the Logitech AudioStation failed to display RDS information for a good number of RDS-enabled stations that other radios, such as the iYiYi, handled without problems.

The AudioStation's remote is larger than most of those included with iPod speaker systems. That's generally a good thing, as the remote is comfortable to hold and the buttons are large and easy to press. You get the standard Play/Pause, Back, Forward, Volume Up and Down, Mute, and Power buttons, but you also get buttons for sleep mode; direct source selection (iPod, Aux, AM, FM); and "3D Stereo" mode; as well as Up, Down, Select, and Menu buttons for navigating the AudioStation's onscreen menus. In our testing, the remote worked well up to 20 or so feet away directly in front, and reasonably well - from 5ft to 10ft away - off to the side.

One undocumented feature of the Logitech AudioStation's remote is that during iPod playback, the Menu Up and Down buttons toggle shuffle and repeat modes, respectively; even the chart in the manual explaining the remote's button functions omits this information.

The Logitech AudioStation is among the best-sounding one-piece speaker systems we've heard. Unlike most desktop systems, it has no glaring weaknesses, offering very good detail and good midrange along with better bass response that any similar system. The ability adjust treble and bass levels is a relatively rare feature that lets you further tailor the sound. And although the "3D Stereo" mode doesn't offer as dramatic an improvement in stereo separation on the AudioStation as it does on Logitech's portable mm50, the technology does provide a bit more "space" to certain tracks. Finally, the AudioStation is one of the few one-piece systems we've tested that can even come close to putting out as much volume as Apple's iPod Hi-Fi without distorting.

Compared to Tivoli's iYiYi, the most similar system out there in terms of features, the Logitech AudioStation offers sound that's more balanced, thanks to better bass and lower-midrange, and the "3D" effect gives the AudioStation slightly better stereo separation. A closer competitor, in terms of overall sound quality, is JBL's Radial, the best-sounding desktop system we've thus far seen. Although the Radial doesn't have the same range of features - most notably, it doesn't include a radio or clock, although it does offer a superior RF remote that lets you navigate your iPod's menus - it provides audio quality that's roughly comparable to that of the AudioStation. Both offer good bass response for a desktop system, as well as very good detail.

We prefer the sound of the Radial - slightly - due to a bit more presence in the midrange that results in a richer, more natural sound on certain tracks. However, it's a close enough call that we suspect some people will prefer the Logitech AudioStation, especially given the latter's adjustable bass and treble levels.

Read our review of the Tivoli iYiYi iPod speaker system here

Logitech AudioStation: Specs

  • 80 RMS power output
  • 3.5mm stereo line in jack
  • wireless remote
  • 80 RMS power output
  • 3.5mm stereo line in jack
  • wireless remote

OUR VERDICT

The AudioStation is a standout product in the crowded field of one-piece, "desktop" iPod speaker systems. Like Tivoli Audio's iYiYi, the AudioStation includes useful non-iPod features such as an AM/FM radio and a clock. But it also competes with JBL's Radial as one of the best-sounding systems in this category. Although the lack of an alarm function is puzzling, and fans of radio will likely prefer the iYiYi thanks to its superior performance in that area, the AudioStation offers an impressive combination of features and audio quality at the same price as its main competitors.