Intempo’s latest solid-state iPod speaker system offers impressive sound at a reasonable price.

Intempo’s iDS-05 delivers good quality sound, despite its unassuming appearance. The iDS-05 is a well-thought-out solution for music playback around the home, although it's a little bulky for use as a portable system.

The box contains the speakers, a selection of interchangeable dock adaptors for different iPod models, an AC adaptor to power the system from the mains, a remote control, and a 3.5mm line-in cable, so you can use it with the iPod shuffle and other devices unequipped with an iPod dock.

The black plastic Intempo iDS-05 (also available in white) is moulded into one solid block, so it doesn’t fold for travel. Dimensions are 230x122x940mm and it weighs 1.2kg, making it a little bulky compared to other portable systems available, although by no means so large that it’s impossible to carry with you on your travels. But the iDS-05 isn’t really a portable solution as it’s exclusively powered by the mains.

Pumping on the stereo

At the front of the unit, the InTempo iDS-05 hosts a centrally mounted iPod dock (protected by a removable cover when not in use). Volume controls are on the dock. A pair of stereo speakers sit to the left and right of the iPod when it’s slotted into place. Also at the front is an activity light. This glows blue when the system is in use, red when on standby, and flashes when it receives instructions from the supplied 12-function remote control.

The back of the Intempo iDS-05 hosts the power in, line-in and USB ports and a subwoofer speaker, which does a stout job reinforcing bass.

The Intempo iDS-05 benefits from the inclusion of a USB port, meaning you can use it as a dock to sync any compatible iPod. That the system works with any audio playback device using the included 3.5mm line-in port (and cable) is advantageous.

The black plastic infrared remote control doesn’t exactly advance notions of modern aesthetic design, but does support most of the functions you want from an iPod speaker system. Larger than an iPod nano, it’s a rectangular block with rounded corners.

We like the remote's size because it means you’re unlikely to lose it under a pile of papers or down the back of the sofa. When you send a command to the Intempo iDS-05's speaker, the front-mounted blue activity light flashes to show the instruction has been received.

The remote offers power on/standby for the Intempo iDS-05's speaker, skip forward and back, a play/pause button, volume up and down controls, and dedicated controls to tweak bass and treble outputs. To tweak bass or treble levels you must press the relevant control once, and then press either the volume up or down controls within two seconds; volume controls otherwise affect overall sound output levels.

The volume controls are at the centre of the remote to the right and left of a central button marked with a circle. This button lets you navigate through the album artwork, star ratings and so on of a song playing on the iPod, and also lets you select playlists or specific tracks when used in conjunction with the Menu button that’s also on the remote, and the Up/Down buttons which let you move within playlists. This means you can use the remote to find the exact track you want to play. Unlike some speaker systems, users can also navigate iPod song contents manually using the iPod clickwheel.

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