mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb
Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Frank Stroupe
Date: 03-13-2008
Provided by: mStation
Pages:
Usage and Conclusion


Using the mStation Orb is extremely easy. I didn't have an iPod on hand to use in the dock (my Shuffle doesn't have a docking port), so I had to borrow my roommate's unit. I had no problem finding the perfect-fitting docking cradle to help support the iPod. The on-board controls worked perfectly, as did the remote control. I was easily able to control the Orb from across the room, and the remote worked pretty well even when not pointed directly at the Orb. Also, controlling the iPod worked as-advertised, which means you don't have to be close to the Orb to change tracks.


Next, I connected my iPhone using the supplied cable and line-in port. Again, everything here worked perfectly, but as anticipated, I was not able to actually control the iPhone.

The mStation Orb also serves as a fully-functional docking station for your iPod and interfaces with iTunes just like your regular connection would, so I decided to try this with my iPhone. I connected the iPhone the first time and the phone crashed. I tried again and had better success.


I had my doubts as I read the message you see in the first image above, but nevertheless, iTunes opened right up and I was able to sync data to the iPhone without issue. The really cool part about using the Orb as a dock is that I could remove the docking cradle and dock my iPhone while it was still in its case, something I can't do with the regular iPhone dock.

UPDATE - I snapped the photos for the docking segment yesterday. After the photo shoot, I put my iPhone back on my normal wall charger. That night when I went to get in bed, I grabbed my phone and found it was EXTREMELY hot - 115 F to be exact. It appears that the phone became overcharged, and is now completely dead. I can't verify that this was caused by something the Orb did, but I also can't rule it out. It could have been a total coincidence; I just can't say for sure. I WILL say this: nowhere does mStation suggest that the Orb works as a dock with the iPhone. I assumed it might, and well, it did work. Like I said, I can't verify if the Orb had anything to do with my dead iPhone, but I certainly don't recommend putting your iPhone on the dock and I won't be doing it with my replacement phone.

Final Thoughts

I have been using the mStation Orb daily for about a week now, and so far, it has been a very good product. The overall design and style is something that compliments the iPod nicely with its sleek lines and unique look. The Orb is available in seven colors to match most any style: white, black, blue, green, pink, red and silver.

The Orb is very easy to operate. The remote is great and would totally ruin the package if it wasn't included. The remote offers full control over the entire unit and has good range. The on-board controls get the job done, but I did find it a bit lacking that bass and treble controls were only located on the remote. If you should happen to misplace the remote, you would seemingly have no way to adjust these options.

Users can connect any iPod that has a docking port (iPod Shuffle, 1st Gen and iPhone users will need to use the line-in port). Using the line-in port, you can connect virtually any music source to the Orb: MP3 / CD Player, desktop, laptop, etc.

The Orb also has added value in the fact that you can use it as a docking station to interface with iTunes by simply connecting the included USB cable to your computer. You are not even required to supply power to the Orb when doing this.

So, all of this is great, but how is the sound quality of the Orb? Its actually not bad at all. The Orb only has 30 watts of power, but it was very loud at max volume... so much so that my roommates came out of their rooms to see what was going on. The bass and treble controls are the saving grace of the Orb. When I first powered on the unit, I thought it sounded pretty bad, but once I adjusted these settings, it sounded just fine. Granted, not as good as a quality computer speaker set, but very good for a small, portable music station. Don't expect a ton of bass from the Orb, as it is limited by its overall size (roughly 8" in diameter).

mStation does not imply anywhere that the Orb works with the iPhone in the docking cradle to sync with iTunes, and I would not recommend trying it. Like I said earlier, this may or may not have had anything to do with my iPhone dying later that night. I can't say for sure without testing it with another iPhone, which I simply can't justify taking that risk again. So, don't connect the iPhone to the Orb via the docking port, period.

The mStation Orb retails for $129.95 over at mStation's website, but you can find it cheaper around the net with a quick search (look down). Thanks to mStation for supplying us with this review sample.


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