Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8 iPod/iPhone/iPad dock hands-on

Bang & Olufsen has resoundingly entered the MP3 dock market with its BeoSound 8, unveiled in London today. However, this is no mere iPod speaker system; it's the first that can also fit an iPad - comfortably - that we've seen on Pocket-lint that doesn't cost less than the iPad itself.

The BeoSound 8 can also be attached to all manner of other audio devices, including a PC or laptop thanks to a handy USB port, and anything else that has a mini-jack output. But it is in its element when coupled with an Apple device. They're a match made in, well, Denmark.

To fit an iPad (even vertically), it needs to be healthy in size, and we can assure you that it's certainly not small; its weight of 4.25kg and 661 x 239 x 164mm dimensions are proof positive of that.

However, that's all for the better because it's made of, in the most part, solid aluminium and feels like a premium product. Plus, the speakers are each comprised of 5-inch woofers and 3/4-inch tweeters. They're meatier than a slice of ham... wrapped around a rump steak.

As Steve Devonshire, training manager of Bang & Olufsen UK, says: "It's transportable, not portable".

He also reiterates that the size of the dock is not merely aesthetic, it needs the real estate to shift serious air: "We believe that nothing on the market can match the sound quality of this".

In stark contrast to that, the supplied remote control is as dinky as they come. Made with the same aluminium finish, it's almost a perfect representation of the front-mounted knob for volume and power. Additionally, as the BeoSound 8 is a Bang & Olufsen product, it is controllable with other B&O products, such as the BeoCom 5 home telephone handset and BeoTime bedside alarm clock.

The company is also releasing an application for Apple devices that will work hand in hand with the BeoSound 8. A free version of BeoPlayer for iOS comes with access to 20 Internet radio stations, and a clock and alarm functionality with all the flair of B&O design. It effectively turns the dock into a radio/alarm clock.

There is also a paid version of the app which, for around £10, will allow access to more that 10,000 radio stations instead of the 20.

The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8 will hit stores within "a week to 10 days", so will be available from the last week in November. It will only be available from B&O's own outlets in the UK and Europe, due to "distribution agreements", although it may appear in multiple retailers in the US.

It comes in either black or white, although other coloured speaker grilles are available, and a wall bracket is included in the box. And, it costs around £895, a price justified by Devonshire: "People will keep our products for many years, and we see it as a main [audio] system for many.

"It's always our passion to release the best".