Review: iLuv ArtStation Pro Turns Your iPad Into A PC

Written by Matthew Lentini     16/11/2011 | 01:25 | Category name i.e.PORTABLE DEVICES

Want to turn your iPad into an iMac? The ArtStation Pro will get you halfway there with a simply designed dock that'll mimic a desktop computer with your iPad attached.


Jump into an electronics store and you'll inevitably wade through a sea of Apple-attach docks, and there usually isn't much discerning one from the other. iLuv has specialised their otherwise quite generic iPad dock just enough to make it stand out from the overflowing crowd, but only if you get creative with the applications.

Coming in either black or white, iLuv's thrown in a suitably edgy but very subdued design that matches the iPad (in whichever colour you choose) with the ArtStation Pro, complimenting the Apple design rather than stealing its limelight. Across the glossy top surface sits five buttons for track selection, volume control and play/pause on attached i-devices that lend themselves to the symmetry of the overall design. The only deviation here is a power button on the right.

The fixed docking arm hangs over the middle from the back, with the headpiece that attaches to the iPad sitting on a tilting joint to point up or down a few degrees each way. There's an iPhone bracket and iPad bracket thrown in that slot smoothly but firmly into the docking arm to keep your devices held steady. For every other device, you'll have to make do with slotting it in without any specialised grooves. It'll take any Apple device like iPods and iPhones, but the large arm doesn't do much for looks while nothing's docked and only really suits an iPad.
The ArtStation with a wireless keyboard

Here comes what might be the key selling point for many, where the design mimics a PC when an iPad is docked. The tilting headpiece spins anticlockwise 90 degrees and back upright so that iPads can be viewed either portrait or landscape, and considering the y-axis tilting in tow, it acts very similar to setting up a comfortable viewing angle on a monitor. If the dock sits on your desk, it's easy to dip the iPad down to sit at eye level as you would your PC. But to complete this pseudo-iMac, you'll need to fork out extra for a wireless keyboard, like the Apple version for $75.

To keep the unit self-sufficient, there's a mini-USB port around the back to connect a PC to the device so that attached iPads can be synced with iTunes without needing to switch between computer and dock. Next to this port is a 3.5mm input for those looking to use the speaker dock with other music players or notebooks. Oddly enough, they haven't thrown in a double-ended 3.5mm cable, so you'll need to BYO to use other music players.

iLuv helps in the transition with its iLuv App that adds internet radio, alarm functions and clocks to the dock, but this app can be used without an iLuv dock, and there are already other apps that do more than it anyway. But when it comes to listening to your Internet radio, the performance is underwhelming for a unit that costs up to $300.

The unit houses two main drivers and two tweeters, all on the front face under a thin, fabric mesh. These aren't the best quality for what you're paying though, with the high-end treble and mid-section of sound muddying into each other rather than delivering clear sound on each level of the sound spectrum. And with no dedicated subwoofer, the low-end is crunchier than it is smooth. Acceptable for typical radios, but not for an Apple-attach you'll probably be using mostly for music. Though it's by no means intended for audiphiles, and for the casual content consumer the sound quality would be more than apt.

To control your music, they've thrown in a small, minimalist remote control that takes over the basic controls of an iPhone: skip track, pause, etc. When you don't need the remote, it slots seamlessly behind the unit in a magnetic groove. It keeps it out of the sight but close at hand, with just enough magnetic attraction to keep it held firm but loose enough to pull off without force - a tiny addition, but it hasn't been overlooked. The downer is that the remote isn't very responsive, and requires a firm push of each button to register.

iLuv's AirStation Pro is an attractive option for iPad owners who want to set up their portable device like a desktop while they're at home. The sound is as good as you get at for the price and the wireless keyboard accessory is handy if you intend on creating a virtual PC out of your iPad. If you're willing to go to the trouble and fork out for it, the visual aesthetics of the iLuv/Apple combination may be enough for Mac enthusiasts.

Top Ranked Reviews

  • Review: LG G Pad 10.1 Tablet Has Nifty Features But Is Mid-Range

    Review: LG G Pad 10.1 Tablet Has Nifty Features But Is Mid-Range

    LG's latest tablet, the G Pad 10.1, delivers a range of new features in a mid-range package that brings a solid brand name and experience to those willing to spend a little more than rock bottom prices for a much better tablet experience.
    Product Rating 3

  • Review: HTC's One Mini 2, A Great Android Smartphone

    Review: HTC's One Mini 2, A Great Android Smartphone

    With smartphones going extra big, it's great to see a powerful, premium-styled smartphone in a smaller configuration from a top brand name that's smooth and comfortable in your hand.
    Product Rating 4

  • Review: Marley's Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headset

    Review: Marley's Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headset

    The House of Marley has produced a quality on-ear Bluetooth headset with controls with included optional connection cord, taking the best of the wired Liberate XL headset and making it better!
    Product Rating 4

  • Review: Marley Liberate BT Bluetooth Speaker With Mic

    Review: Marley Liberate BT Bluetooth Speaker With Mic

    A new portable Bluetooth speaker with 8 hours of rechargeable battery life, stylish "industrial" design, Bob Marley branding and a hidden mic for handsfree calls has arrived to stir things up a bit.
    Product Rating 4

  • Review: Fitbit Flex Wearable Fitness Tracker

    Review: Fitbit Flex Wearable Fitness Tracker

    Testing Fitbit's wrist-band wearable fitness tracker over the past couple of weeks has been an interesting experiment that sees me wanting to continue the tracking and reaching the daily 10,000 steps goal - but I wish it also told the time.
    Product Rating 4

Pros & Cons

Pros:

Interchangeable mounts for iPads and iPhones; simple design that suits iPads specifically; Hooks up to a PC to iTunes sync direct to docked iPad/iPhone

Cons:

For the price the Art Station Pro delivers sound as good as you get in this class of iPod attach device. Ideal for a kitchen or bedroom the devices allows users to access content from an iPod, iPad and IPhone as well as Android devices.