Logic 3's i-Station Rotate portable speaker system offers pretty good audio quality, but it's the features that make this device a truly desirable buy.
Unlike most docking speaker systems, which sport a dock that accommodates an upright iPod or iPhone, the Logic 3 i-Station Rotate features a cradle that can be rotated between vertical and landscape orientations. The system ships with with seven cradle sizes to fit various editions of the iPod classic, iPod nano, iPod touch and iPhone. But instead of supporting just the base of your iPod or iPhone, each cradle grips the sides of its intended device to hold the device steady.
The Logic 3 i-Station Rotate's rotation mechanism and cradle feel sturdy and secure - if anything, the mechanism is a bit stiff. (The Rotate's dock connector normally sits in the centre of the unit, but slides to the right to allow for the rotation. You can't insert or remove your device in landscape mode; you must rotate back up to portrait orientation for that, which we found to be of minimal inconvenience.)
The Logic 3 i-Station Rotate also features an Apple dock connector. This allows for better audio quality, video output and the capability, when connected to AC power, to charge your docked iPhone or iPod. The system is Works With iPhone- and Made For iPod-certified.
Landscape mode obviously makes the most sense when you're using an iPhone or iPod touch to watch a movie. The Logic 3 i-Station Rotate even sports a composite-video output - you can place your iPhone or video-capable iPod in the dock, then connect the system to your TV to watch on the big screen while listening via the Rotate. We occasionally noticed very slight audio/video sync issues when testing this feature, but it wasn't ever dramatic enough to be truly troublesome.
With your iPod or iPhone docked, particularly if you've rotated the device to landscape mode, it can be a bit annoying to fiddle with the onscreen controls. Fortunately, the Logic 3 i-Station Rotate includes a small yet very functional infrared remote. In addition to the standard controls - power, volume, mute, pause, back and forwards - the remote also includes menu-navigation controls. That means you can actually navigate through your device's menus and screens to, say, switch between playlists, albums or artists. Of course, in order to be able to read what's on your iPod or iPhone's screen, you'll need to be close enough to touch the device directly, but it's still a nice feature. Unfortunately, the i-Station Rotate doesn't provide a place to store the remote when not in use.
The onboard controls on the Logic 3 i-Station Rotate itself are limited to power and volume, both easily accessible on the left and right sides respectively of the front of the device. On the rear is a second power switch that toggles whether the device should run on battery power (four AA batteries). This switch is a bit confusing: When the i-Station Rotate is connected to AC power, the switch is apparently ignored; when not connected to AC power, toggling this switch to the On position allows you to turn on the Rotate using the remote - it apparently enables a sort of 'sleep' mode. (This would seem to imply that keeping this switch in the Off position will conserve battery power.) Logic 3 doesn't provide an official battery-life estimate, but we were able to listen to music for at least eight hours over two days without the power button flashing to indicate a low battery level.
On the base of the Logic 3 i-Station Rotate, you'll find two small legs that rotate out from the base. The unit can stand without those feet extended, but it's far more stable when you use them.
The Logic 3 i-Station Rotate also includes a soft, lightly-padded carrying case, as well as a short, 3.5mm cable to connect other audio devices to the system's line-in jack. Finally, you also get a small plastic cover, about the size of an iPhone, that slides into the cradle area to protect the dock connector when travelling. Given that you must remove your iPod or iPhone and the matching cradle adaptor to slide the cover on, I'd probably forego the cap most of the time.
The Logic 3 i-Station Rotate sounds pretty good given its size. The system uses dual (left and right) 2in midrange drivers and 0.9in tweeters, which combine to provide solid, rich sound. The bass isn't jaw-dropping, but upper bass is indeed present and respectable for a unit of this size. On the whole, audio sounds quite full, and you can crank the system up impressively loud. We heard no interference when coupling the Logic 3 i-Station Rotate with an iPhone, even when the phone checked for new email in the background. However, the system doesn't include a microphone, so you'll need to remove your iPhone in a hurry when a call comes in.