iPlayaz VW Beetle and Beetle ZipConnect

iPlayaz VW Beetle and Beetle ZipConnect

The iPlayaz (left) has a more of an urban style, and the Beetle ZipConnect (right) is for peace-lovin' hippie types.


You'll run into bumper-to-bumper traffic when you cruise through the iPod speaker market. To pull away from the rest of the pack, the Beetle ZipConnect and Chub City iPlayaz VW Beetle hope to win your business by appealing to enthusiasts who love their Volkswagen Beetles as much as they love their iPods.


The Beetle ZipConnect has an alarm clock and an AM/FM radio. The cleverly implemented iPod cradle is hidden in the backseat - push a button, and the seat rolls back to reveal the adjustable cradle. You can connect your iPod using the car's audio-in connector, which plugs into your iPod's headphone jack, or you can opt for the ZipConnect charge + play + remote control option ($9.95), which has a dock connector and a remote control.


What stalled our enthusiasm about the Beetle ZipConnect was the low-level static noise it emits. When you're playing a tune, it's there in the background. When the volume is turned down completely, it's there. The only way to get rid of it is to turn off the audio player, which defeats the purpose. Otherwise, the audio lacks warmth and deep bass, but it does get quite loud. It uses SRS WOW technology, and the speakers are actually in the wheels.


The iPlayaz VW Beetle doesn't do much, but it's meant to be a musical toy, not a practical speaker. You run a cable from your iPod's headphone jack (actually, you can use any device with a headphone jack) to the iPlayaz VW Beetle and turn on the car. Lights flash, the spinners spin, and the car shakes - in a predetermined pattern, not to the music. And we're talking cheap-radio sound quality.


The bottom line. The Beetle ZipConnect is a unique iPod clock, but too pricey for our blood. If you're into hip-hop and pimped-out veedubs, the iPlayaz VW Beetle could be worth the $25. Both are cute novelties, but neither will satisfy anyone who wants quality sound.


Beetle ZipConnect
COMPANY: The Sharper Image
CONTACT: www.sharperimage.com
PRICE: $99.95
REQUIREMENTS: iPod or any device with audio-out
AM/FM radio and alarm clock.
iPod connector sold separately ($9.95). Emits noticeable background noise. Weak bass.




iPlayaz VW Beetle
COMPANY: Jada Toys
CONTACT: www.chubcity.com
PRICE: $24.99
REQUIREMENTS: iPod or any device with audio-out, four AA batteries
Adorable. Nicely made.
Mediocre sound. Shaking action doesn't match the rhythm of the music.





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