The Soundfreaq Sound Step Lighting dock is priced under $140 and lets you connect to iOS Lightning-enabled device, via Bluetooth, USB and much more. It even includes an FM radio, an IR remote and an iOS and Android app are also available. Best of all, the speaker sounds great.
We have seen a huge proliferation in the number of available Bluetooth speakers. Similarly, lightning-enabled docks designed to work specifically with current generation Apple products have been increasing in number. The result is an ever-growing number of choices when looking for a relatively inexpensive way to enjoy your music at home or on your desk at work. Rarely, however, have we seen a dock with as many connection options as the Soundfreaq Sound Step Lightning.
And while the inclusion of a lightning connector makes it a great dock for someone who uses Apple iOS devices, it will also work with pretty much any audio source you can throw at it. This kind of flexibility, when tied with a dock whose design is clean and attractive and a price which is surprisingly low makes the Soundfreaq Sound Step Lightning a great choice for pretty much anyone looking for an inexpensive speaker/dock. That was, in fact, why we included it in our “great speaker for college dorms” post the other day. Let’s take a closer look.
Let’s dig in a little deeper.
From the front the Soundfreaq Sound Step Lightning has an incredibly clean and attractive appearance. We will get back to that, but let’s look at the back of the speaker and run down the various ways one can connect an audio source to it.
There is, as one might expect, the 3.5mm auxiliary in port for connecting a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable. This makes it possible to connect pretty much any audio source, but it is a rather rudimentary means of making the connection.
The speaker dock also has a USB port on the back. This is not only a great way to connect an audio source such as an iPod with a 30-pin connector, but it is also a way to charge the device. That’s a neat trick we would love to see on every new dock that comes to market.
The Soundfreaq Sound Step Lightning also has Bluetooth, and it does a fine job of streaming audio content from any Bluetooth enabled device.
Finally, since this is the Soundfreaq Sound Step Lightning, there is a lightning connector on the front of the dock. It allows you to take any current generation iOS device or a 2012/2013 iPod nano and enjoy your music.
Soundfreaq makes a valiant, albeit rather rudimentary, attempt to make the dock as universal as possible by including a number of rubber inserts.
One does a good job of creating a safe platform if you want to use your iPad mini with the dock while the other allows you to cover the lightning connector and simply cradle your tablet – pretty much any tablet – while streaming music via Bluetooth. All of this combines to make a dock which has the greatest imaginable number of connection options and results in as universal a dock because you will likely find on the market currently.
Oh, and as if those options weren’t enough, the dock also has built-in FM and ships with an FM antenna. To make use of the FM radio, you’ll want to download the free Soundfreaq app.
Moving to the front of the Soundfreaq Sound Step Lightning reveals incredibly clean lines and just enough buttons and indicator lights to make it interesting. Buttons include power, track forward, track back, volume up, volume down, play/pause and pair. And while that is seven buttons in a small space it doesn’t look cramped or crowded.
The low-profile and availability in either black or white means the dock can fit in nicely with pretty much any decor. It doesn’t scream “look at me, look at me”, but it also doesn’t disappear into the background.
Best of all the Sound Step Lightning sounds really, really good. That’s not by accident. Soundfreaq was careful to not only pack features into the dock but also make sure it sounds great. As the company explains,
Sound Step Lightning’s signature sound profile is crafted for natural bass response and vocal clarity. It features a 2.1 speaker configuration with a dedicated sub-woofer and Soundfreaq’s proprietary UQ3 spatial sound enhancement to deliver natural bass and stereo separation, unique for a compact speaker.
Finally it is worth mentioning the IR remote and app. The IR remote is included with the speaker and can control power, source selection, volume and play function. When you aren’t using it the remote slips into a spot on the bottom of the dock for safe keeping.
And if you don’t want to use the IR remote you can use the free Soundfreaq Remote App for iOS and Android. It not only lets you control power, source selection, volume and playback but it also works with the Sound Step Lightning’s built-in FM tuner to let you listen to OTA radio.
If I were in the market for a desktop talk with a price under $150 I think the Soundfreaq Sound Step Lightning would be on my short list. The low-profile, clean lines in the sound combined with a flexibility of connection that is pretty much unmatched in the marketplace today. Add in the fact that this stock is priced under hundred and $30 and you have a really compelling product that will meet just about anyone’s needs so long as they don’t expect high fidelity sound. Learn more here. You can get it through our Amazon Affiliate store.
What I Like: Multiple ways to connect: Low profile and refined look; Sounds quite good; Built-in FM radio; Includes remote and a free remote app
What Needs Improvement: Nothing, as a budget dock under $140 this exceeds expectations
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample