September 19, 2009
What it is: A pair of slim speakers, for your iPod or other music player, that fold to the size of a midsize, thick paperback book.
How it works: Stand your 4G or newer iPod (doesn't work with iPhone) on the 30-pin connector to hear music. The unit charges your iPod while your tunes play or while the iPod is turned off, and you can check out the time of day on the included clock. Buttons adjust the music volume and fast-forward, rewind or skip your tunes. No iPod? No worries. To connect your non-iPod music player, visit an electronics store to buy a $5 mini plug-to-mini plug cable that will hook up your music player to the auxiliary input in the back of this speaker set.
The good: Its $60 price tag is $20 to $60 less than some other models. The Travel Speaker's curvy design is hip, and at 1.32 pounds, it won't weigh you down or take up a lot of luggage room. Portable power is available for as much as 12 hours of personal listening -- you will get less time if you're blasting music for a poolside party. The unit's matte finish and included neoprene carrying sleeve help keep fingerprints at bay. When cranked, the speakers can fill a medium-size room with clear, distortion-free music.
The bad: Typical boxy sound from small, portable speakers, with mediocre bass response. Adjust your music player's equalizer accordingly. Instead of getting a built-in rechargeable lithium battery for portable use; you will be buying four AA batteries (though rechargeables are an option), and don't forget to remove them when not in use. No dock adapters are included, so you will have to track down that piece of plastic your iPod came with to make it fit comfortably in a docking portable system such as the Travel Speaker. More hotels are installing iPod-friendly speakers in guest rooms, so this isn't a travel necessity, unless you like the idea of sharing your music poolside or at a picnic in the park.
Available from: Memorex.com