Saturday, January 19, 2008
Review: iPod mini-speaker
One of my few complaints (serious complaints; there are a million minor things that I could bitch about forever, but don’t really matter) about the iPod Touch is that it lacks a speaker. I don’t care about a high quality speaker for music, but it would be nice to be able to play videos or Youtube clips for other people on it, without needing headphones.
I was searching around for something and came across this: Mini Speaker For Apple iPod, iPhone. My first thought: That thing is probably a piece of shit. My second thought: it’s only $19. So I bought it.
It arrived this week, and is pretty much exactly what it claims to be. The color is more appropriate for an older iPod, and certainly not the Touch or iPhone. Even the iPod classics won’t really even match it anymore, but what it looks like wasn’t really a huge concern for me. On the other hand, I didn’t want it to be off-centered when attached like a lot of other mini-speakers, since the headphone jack isn’t centered on the Touch, so the dock connected instead of headset connector is nice. Of course, that means it’s iPod only and won’t work with other devices, but that’s what I wanted. This way it also uses the line out instead of headphone out.
Now, on the the sound quality. It’s surprisingly good. Obviously, it’s not going to blow you away with amazing sound, but at one step below the maximum volume, music sounds pretty adequate. Since it uses line out, volume is controlled on the speaker, not the iPod. It has two simple up and down buttons. There’s some distortion, and I wouldn’t want to listen to music on it all the time, but for what it is, it works well. It is a stereo speaker, but since it attaches to the bottom of the Touch, which gets turned on its side for video, the sound ends up only coming from one side. Not really a big deal.
The mini-speaker width is the same as the iPod Touch, but it is significantly thicker. I haven’t opened it up to see if it can be crammed into a smaller case, but I might at some point. It’s not a huge issue for me.
And now, a video! This was shot with a point and shoot camera which doesn’t have a great mic, and the sound is coming from the mini-speaker. Fairly impressive, given the equipment involved.
All things considered, I’m happy with the purchase. If I had paid the “regular price” of $60, I probably wouldn’t be, but I don’t think that’s a real price. The “clearance sale” end date seems to just always list today’s date. For $20, the iPod mini-speaker is exactly what I wanted.