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When you’re on the road, and you’ve finally arrived at your hotel room, unpacked your things, and clicked on the TV to see what’s on, it finally hits you—that feeling that you’re someplace unfamiliar, someplace strange. The best way to cure that feeling of displacement? Music. Bust out your iPod and some portable speakers, and fill your room with audible comfort. We’ve found a pair of portable speaker sets that are both quite capable of being your best buddy during your travels.
No battery option and no remote, but we like the iLuv i189 anyway for its warm, full sound.
iLuv i189. The i189’s design is a familiar one, where your iPod sits prominently in a cradle in front of a pair of 2.5-watt speakers. The device measures 8.5 by 3.5 by 5.5 inches and easily fits into carry-on luggage or a duffle bag. Make sure you leave a little bit of room for the power adapter, since the i189 doesn’t have any battery-power capabilities. And, bummer for us, the i189 doesn’t have a remote control.
The audio from the i189 is impressive for such a small device. Music sounds clear, and the bass has good presence. Midrange sounds are rich and warm. The only problem we had with the i189 is with high notes, which the device can’t seem to reach. We were able to turn the volume up all the way without any signs of distortion, though the volume is just adequate for a 300-square-foot hotel room.
The i189’s 3D sound option gives your music a bolder presence, but it doesn’t feel like surround sound. At least it doesn’t give your music an annoying echo feeling like the 3D effects on some other speakers, which shall remain nameless.
REQUIREMENTS: iDockable iPod
Easily fits into carry-on luggage. Good sound.
No remote control. No battery option. Weak high notes.
It’s a bit bulky, but the Pure-Fi Anywhere has a remote, and you can recharge the battery.
Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere. The 13.25-by-4-by-1.5-inch Pure-Fi Anywhere has a pair of 2-inch active drivers accompanied by a pair of 3-inch pressure drivers for bass response. Logitech includes a handsome storage case to protect the speakers, though it can take a considerable amount of room in a carry-on bag.
The device has a built-in, nonreplaceable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery that Logitech says lasts 10 hours. In our testing, the battery actually lasted 15 minutes beyond the stated life. To charge the battery, simply plug in the included power adapter, and an LED indicates when it’s charged.
The Pure-Fi Anywhere is capable of clearly producing a full range of sounds. There’s a bit of warmth missing, but the sound is quite enjoyable. However, when we turned the speaker to its highest volume, we ran into lots of distortion. Pure-Fi’s StereoXL feature gives your music a surround-sound effect that we didn’t find annoying—we liked it for some songs, while we turned it off for others.
The remote control has a disappointing range of about 12 feet, although that might be enough in a small room. Unfortunately, the remote feels cheap and the buttons are too stiff, but it does let you navigate through your iPod’s menus so you can get to your playlists and songs.
The bottom line. We like the i189’s small size for those times when we want to travel light. The Pure-Fi Anywhere has the better sound of the two, and its rechargeable battery is a great feature, but its size makes it a little more cumbersome for casual toting.
REQUIREMENTS: Dockable iPod
Easily fits into checked luggage. Rechargeable battery. Good sound.
Might be a little big for your carry-on, especially if it’s already bulging. Remote feels cheap and has a short range. Distortion at highest volumes