Conveniently enough, we have a four-way test of £70-£100 iPod speaker docks in our current (September) issue. As well as the CyrusLink LinkMini Two (£80) that does very well there, i'd consider the Logitech MM50 (ideal if you want a battery powered solution; widely available for @£70).
i just use a phono to headphone lead to connect my i pod to my amplifier, surely this is better than using a docking station? apart from charging the i pod and looking nice (in some peoples opinions) do the docking stations have any other benefits?
Ah, I think we have some confusion here - blame Mp3 accessory terminology. The original question was about speaker docks - in effect mini systems (including amps and speakers) you just slot your iPod into.
You're referring to iPod docks - the cradles that house your iPod and connect it to your hi-fi. And yes, the best of these (think the Onkyo, Arcam, Denon, Marantz etc.) will sound better than connecting your iPod up via the headphone socket.
The reason? Because you're bypassing the iPod's volume control, letting the dock drive the amp.
If you are looking for a docking station with speakers that sound very good, may I suggest the "I Want 500's available on a certain auction site for about £35-£40's. I took a chance and bought this and was blown away with the sound, better than the Bose docking system. It also comes with a remote control. People that have heard it can't believe the sound they are hearing, take the chance and buy it, you will not be dissapointed.
I think I've narrowed my search for docks down to the Logitech MM50 and the CyrusLink LinkMini two as suggested but I am assuming the Logitech is better for travelling? i.e shoving in a suitcase? Also, Whats your opinion on the new Intempo DigitalIpod dock (£129)?
The Logitech is indeed better for travelling - comes with a carry case, and its rechargeable battery means you can take it just about anywhere. Also, if you do pack the mains plug, the MM50 will charge your iPod as well, so no need to pack a separate iPod charger.
The Cyrus would pip it for sound quality, though - but is more of a desktop solution, as it's mains-only. All depends on how flexible/portable you want your Pod dock to be!
Re the Intempo - assuming you mean this, we haven't tested it yet. Should be getting one very shortly, however.... Really wouldn't like to second-guess how it'll sound, as Intempo docks have been very variable in quality.