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Edifier's new Esiena iF360 is a versatile and decent-sounding all-in-one system, but does it provide enough bang for a pretty hefty buck?
Straight out of the box, the Esiena iF360 ¿¿ we assume the name is a nod to a full circle, since it seems to do everything except cook toast ¿¿ is a relatively minimalistic unit; two speakers flanking a simple dot matrix display and a CD slot. The unit is controlled through a set of glowing red touch buttons set into the top and a remote control. A flip-up iPod dock crowns the unit.
As seems to be becoming a long trend that just won't die, the top and back of the iF360, as well as the remote, are finished in piano black. This means that you need to be prepared for smudgy fingerprints whenever you do, well, anything. A sleek, glossy sound system only looks stylish for as long as it can remain fingerprint-free, which tends to make this repeated design choice by manufacturers somewhat bewildering.
Now, the Esiena is a pretty adaptable and facile piece of kit. In addition to the now-standard iPod and FM digital radio functions, it has a set of RCA R/L input jacks, an SD card reader, a USB port, a video out, a CD player, MP3 and WMA support, and digital alarm clock functions. However, apart from the CD slot and the iPod dock, all ports and sockets are located at the back of the unit. While this makes for a clean fa¿¿ade, it does mean that you'll need to turn the iF360 around to fiddle with the ports and, if you don't have an iPod, there's no attractive or ergonomic way to dock your Zen or iRiver.
It does mean, though, that setting up the unit is relatively hassle-free. Everything is clearly labelled and an all-in-one unit means you don't have to worry about what speaker connects where. It's also fairly lightweight, which means you can move it about easily ¿¿ from sitting neatly on a bookcase for MP3 playback, to next to your television for a sound boost, to the bedroom to use as an alarm clock.
iPod and iPhone docking, video out, CD, CD MP3 and CD WMA operationFM digital radio with RDS capabilitySD card reader and USB reader ¿¿ MP3 and WMA audio Digital clock with alarm functionClass D digital amplifier with total output power of 50WTouch sensitive controls and remote control for full navigation of iPod and iPhoneWeight: approx 5.6kg