Feature: 12 Top iPod Speaker Stands

Feature: 12 Top iPod Speaker Stands



Your picnic in the park or day at the beach isn't complete without music. These three speaker systems all are battery operated for outdoor use. Play it loud and proud, but don't be rude. Not everyone wants to hear the greatest hits of Hall and Oates on full volume while they're trying to enjoy a day out.


Boomin' speaker that's built tough.


inMotion iM9

Altec Lansing's inMotion iM9 doesn’t look like a boom box, but you can't miss its clean, booming sound. It can't double as a set of high-quality home speakers, but offers a lot more than we expected from a portable system. Plus, the 4-pound, 11-by-7.8-by-3-inch speaker has a shock-resistant design that uses heavy-duty plastic parts to soften any blows.


While the iM9 excels in the audio department, it also has some severe limitations. For example, it lacks a remote and a handle, but it does come with a backpack that can hold extra batteries (the iM9 uses four C batteries), a small mobile phone, a can of Red Bull, and an issue of Mac|Life folded in thirds. Also, the volume buttons can be difficult to press.


And the iM9 has an odd quirk. When you turn it off, your iPod continues to play. In other speaker stands we tested, the docked iPod switched to charging-only mode when the speaker is powered down.


inMotion iM9

Altec Lansing





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Affordable out-and-about boom box.



iHome's iH31 is an inexpensive boom box to pump out your iPod tunes at the beach or around the campfire. You probably won't use the iH31 as you ramble down your block - its handle is better designed for the short trip from your car to your picnic spot.


The 15.1-by-5.6-by-5.6-inch unit can use eight C batteries or the included 12-volt adapter. It also has an FM radio and can store six presets, though we wish it had an AM radio so we could listen to a ballgame.


Your iPod, including the first-gen shuffle, fits securely in a cradle, and a plastic shield protects it from stray Frisbees. The remote lets you control the volume, tracks, and FM presets, but there's no place on the iH31 for you to stash it. The speaker comes in black, silver, or white.


The iH31's speakers produce good midrange and bass. But for a boom box, it lacks serious boom. Still, if you like to turn it up, you'll like the iH31's ability to go full volume without distortion.








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With its cool looks and thumping sound, this boom box is sure to draw a crowd.


Go + Play

Harman Kardon's Go + Play has just what we want in a boom box: powerful sound and a design that’ll stop 'em in the streets. Its two front tweeters and pair of rear woofers are all encased in a black-and-silver arc of style and sophistication. The Go + Play produces such a complete, clean sound that you may want to use it as your main home speaker system.


Unlike speaker stands that display your iPod prominently, the Go + Play lays it flat, which makes accessing the clickwheel easier and adds a sense of security in public places. The basic remote can control the volume and tracks, and it tucks into a compartment on the main unit. Rubber caps cover the USB and S-Video ports when they're not in use. At 20 by 9.5 by 9 inches and weighing nearly 7 pounds with its eight D batteries, the Go + Play isn't the thing to take on a 20-mile hike. But for outdoor events where music is key to the fun, the Go + Play is your go-to speaker set.


Go + Play

Harman Kardon





BONUS: More Out and About Speakers

MTX Audio's iThunder looks like a typical boom box. jWIN Electronics' iLuv i552 has an AM/FM radio. You probably have the tubular design of Altec Lansing's inMotion iM7 etched into your memory. But its handle is too uncomfortable for carrying long distances.




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