When you are shopping for speakers, no doubt you've noticed quite a number of them with a specialized dock at the top for the latest generation iPhone or iPod touch. If you are an owner of Apple's mobile devices, this is a convenience provided by many manufacturers which you will enjoy. One such manufacturer is Pioneer, with its latest product in the line, the XW-BTS7.
The Pioneer XW-BTS7 is a beautiful looking product. It sports a wooden look that comes in two color variations: Brown and Light Oak. It's compact and lightweight too, which makes the fact that it doesn't have an internal rechargeable battery a real shame. That said, it still has Bluetooth connectivity as well as NFC, in addition to the traditional 3.5mm audio port and a USB port.
On the top, you will find the Lightning connector dock, as well as five buttons for its various functions right at the center. Next to it is the NFC icon, so you would know where to tap your NFC-enabled device for pairing. There is a removable speaker cover at the front, behind which you will find the two 15W drivers and the IR receiver in the middle. The IR receiver is, obviously, for the remote control that comes with the XW-BTS7, which appears to have more control functions than the unit itself. The back is where you plug in the power, USB devices and the 3.5mm audio cable. We say USB devices but they are, unfortunately, only for other iPhones and iPods.
As for performance, it varies slightly depending on what you are using to play your tracks. Generally, the bass is unable to keep up when playing bassheavy club-esque tracks, and are a little on the weak side some of the time. The mids and highs are great at low to moderate volume levels, but distortion is quite evident when you attempt to blast the speakers. The Lightning connector seems to be the option for you to use, as tracks played via an iPhone or iPod touch connected here sounds the best, with other methods of connectivity suffering a drop in sound clarity.
The Pioneer XW-BTS7 is made for iOS devices, in physical form and in performance. Then again, this is expected of speakers with a dock to perform best with the docked device. While it's a shame that it cannot be as portable as many would hope, it would serve as a beautiful addition to a living space.