Our Verdict 
If it was available without speakers, and if it wasn't fundamentally identical to the Carbon, the Red-i would be much easier to love
Proper standard of build, decent specification, goes very loud
Speakers let the side down in quite a big way
Reviewed on

iPod docks aren't difficult products to understand. Even one as well specified as this (a pair of line-level inputs, composite and S-Video outputs, and a 3.5mm input for use with other MP3 players) isn't hard to get your head around.

What is tough to fathom about the Red-i is what it's doing here at all.

The Red-i is very reminiscent of another Fatman product called the Carbon, winner of a recent Group Test.

One of the reasons we loved the Carbon was its availability with or without speakers – the Fatman efforts were reasonable, but without them it cost just £250, leaving plenty of cash for a pair of Tannoy Mercury Custom F1s, Roth OLi1s or similar.

The Red-i, on the other hand, is a complete-with-speakers deal – and they're inferior to the Carbon boxes.

More after the break

All power and little poisePlaying an uncompressed file of The Replacements' Here Comes a Regular, the Red-i delivers a brash, unsubtle sound, far removed from the voluptuous signature we've come to expect from Fatman.

It's more powerful than the Carbon, and capable of quite formidable volume, but treble sounds harden as you wind the volume dial towards the business end – although a quick change of speakers to something less excitable restores a bit of order.

The one advantage the Red-i had over the Carbon was compatibility with the latest iPhone models, but its Fatman sibling has been since upgraded. Our advice would be to take a look at the Carbon instead.