Editors at What Hi-Fi? feel that the Arcam rCube lives up to its marketing claims as "the world's best iPod/iPhone speaker dock," although they were skeptical at first. Reviewers there like the powerful, clear sound (distortion-free even at maximum volume) and the rCube's functionality, including simple touch controls. Another reviewer at TrustedReviews.com calls the rCube's sound "unmatched," and yet another points out that although the rCube's sound is really excellent, its interface -- good performance, simple controls -- is just as important to the user experience. The rCube offers lossless streaming if you purchase either an rWand dongle for your iPhone, iPod or iPad, or an rWave dongle for use with your Mac or PC. Both dongles are sold separately, and reviewers aren't always happy about paying extra to get full functionality out of what's already a very expensive system. However, unlike the Bose SoundDock 10 (*Est. $550), most reviewers like this speaker enough that they don't mind the initial high cost.
The good news about these dongles is that they use the Kleer lossless streaming protocol, which, unlike Apple AirPlay, doesn't cause any lag between pushing play and hearing the music. The rCube can be paired with other rCubes to produce a house-wide streaming network, and it also outputs HD video, although reviewers wish it had HDMI video output instead of composite and component outputs. Although this speaker weighs 11 pounds -- a little heavy for a portable model -- reviewers seem happy with the built-in, hideaway carry handle, and the high-capacity lithium-ion battery provides four to six hours of battery life when operating at maximum volume. The only other real gripe we found is that the Arcam rCube's power brick is quite large, but this isn't an issue if you're using it as a portable, battery-powered iPod speaker.
We weren't able to find any user reviews for the Arcam rCube, perhaps because of its high price and relatively recent introduction. However, there's a wealth of expert review material about this speaker; TrustedReviews.com and Sound + Vision magazine provide two of the most detailed, hands-on analyses. Maximum Tech was the only really dissenting opinion we found; the reviewer feels the rCube isn't worth its high cost.
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Our Sources: Arcam rCube iPod Speaker Reviews
The Arcam rCube is the only speaker system that receives a perfect 10 rating from TrustedReviews.com. Reviewer Gordon Kelly calls its sound "unmatched," and likes its compact size.
Review: Arcam rCube Review, Gordon Kelly, Jan. 1, 2011
2. Sound & Vision Magazine
Reviewer Michael Berk declares that he was initially suspicious of the rCube, and he doesn't like the idea of paying extra for dongles to enable wireless streaming. However, he ultimately declares that "Arcam really got it right here."
Review: Review: Arcam rCube, Michael Berk, June 2, 2011
3. What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
The editors of What Hi-Fi? award the rCube "Best iPod dock" status in its high-end price range. They like its sound; its solid, compact construction; and the wireless streaming options, which include connecting to iOS devices, your computer, or another rCube.
Review: Arcam rCube, Editors of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
4. PC Advisor
The only negative comment this reviewer makes is that you have to be careful where you aim the rCube's remote to get it to work. Otherwise, he loves the unit's sound and wireless streaming options.
Review: Arcam rCube Review, Simon Jary, Oct. 10, 2011
This reviewer likes the rCube's design and portability, but feels its performance doesn't justify the high cost, especially when the wireless streaming accessories cost extra. He's also the only reviewer we found that indicated some distortion in mid-range sounds at high volumes.
Review: Arcam rCube iPod Speaker Dock Review, Michael Brown, July 12, 2011
Ian Osborne of TechRadar.com feels that the rCube delivers "stellar sound" and acknowledges that it's expensive, but not overpriced. The one criticism is that sound was "very harsh" when playing high compression-rate files.
Review: Arcam rCube Review, Ian Osborne, Feb. 10, 2011
7. Electronic House Magazine
Electronic House reviewer Grant Clauser calls the Arcam rCube's sound "very good," and likes that you can use the rWand dongle on not just iPhones but iPads, too. He likes the rCube's small size, but points out that this limits the amount of stereo separation it can achieve.
Review: Hands-on Review: Arcam rCube iPod Speaker Dock, Grant Clauser, Oct. 10, 2011
8. iPod Republic
Reviewer Daniel Tangen rates the rCube at 4.5 out of 5 stars, calling it "among the best sounding iPod speaker docks" he's listened to recently. He likes the big sound that comes out of the small unit, but isn't thrilled about the extra cost for the rWand and rWave dongles.
Review: Review: Arcam rCube Portable Speaker Dock for iPod and iPhone, Daniel Tangen, March 16, 2011
This is one of the older rCube reviews; reviewer Jamie Carter is impressed by the Arcam rCube's Kleer lossless streaming protocol. "Audio-wise it compares reasonably well with the more expensive competition," Carter writes, but also states that the rCube's playback is "distant" at low volumes.
Review: Arcam rCube Review, Jamie Carter, Nov. 18, 2010