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For those not wishing to splash out a few hundred pounds on the excellent Creative ZiiSound Bluetooth speakers, Creative have further ranges of Bluetooth speakers on the market.

The D100’s are the cheapest, but if you want to retain the apt-X sound system of the ZiiSound, there’s the D200’s.  Just £89.99, these are a lot cheaper than the £279.99 asking price of the ZiiSound. Indeed, Amazon are currently selling them for just £69.99.

In the simple box you get the D200 speaker system, power adapter, quick start guide and various warranty and technical leaflets.

To benefit from apt-X you need to have a compatible transmitter. The iPhone/iPod Bluetooth doesn’t have this by default, so you’ll need a plug-in “dongle”. These retail at £40 and Creative have confirmed to me as well that these are compatible with the new iPod releases.

There’s an equivalent USB version for plugging into your PC or laptop, and this too is available at half price.

On the top of the speaker is a Bluetooth connection button as well as buttons for volume up and down. On the rear is the power connector, power button and an “Aux in” socket, allowing you to connect to the speakers without the need for Bluetooth.

There’s no dock for an iPod/iPhone, but if don’t own one then you’ll probably be glad of the speaker’s smoother lines that are the result.

The speaker itself is gorgeous glossy black with a black fabric grill on the front. However, and you’ll see from the photographs, that glossy plastic picks up dust and hair extremely easily. It’s about 41cm in length (10cm height and 10cm depth) and weighs a little over 1.5kg.

So,  connecting up power and turning on, you will be greeted by a light that is between the Bluetooth connection button and the volume controls. Hold the connection button down for a few seconds and this light will flash blue, indicating that it’s ready to pair. Pair this with your device and you’re done. The volume controls, which I believe is a rocker, rather than individual buttons, are best held down rather than stabbed lightly. The Bluetooth should work up to about 10 metres away.

I tried it out with a combination of Thunder, the stirring end title music from the recent Star Trek film and, for audio tests, the Chris Moyles Podcast. The sound is absolutely cracking – it has excellent bass, it goes to a high volume without distortion and the all round sound is balanced. I was mightily impressed. And, at this point, I wasn’t using an apt-X transmitter – plugging that in, the sound has an added richness that simple Bluetooth just can’t provide.

[review]An extremely attractive and excellent sounding speaker. About the only negative point I could find is the slightly stiff volume buttons.

Excellent value for money.[/review]

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