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You might not think taking yourexpensive portable technology into rugged terrain, but there’s no reason to use the excuse that your MacBook or iPod are too delicate to take outside as to eschew the great outdoors—or an opportunity to exercise and breathe fresh air. With the proper gear, your tunes and your data can venture outside with you and go back inside no worse for the wear.
iHome Speaker Pouch. This travel-ready speaker dock is the most affordable of all the similar speakers we tested, as well as the easiest to carry. The zippered enclosure protects your iPod or iPhone from sand and water while keeping the screen viewable behind a clear plastic window. The pouch may not summon a lot of wow, but it’s hard to imagine a beach-going teenager who wouldn’t mind having one.
The pouch connects to an iPod or iPhone via a standard headphone jack rather than a dock. The jack is long enough to reach the iPhone’s recessed plug. A strap and a series of adapters hold the different iPod and iPhone models in place, and the hard plastic rim protects your player against drops and bumps.
You don’t have to spend big bucks to be able to tote your iPod into the wild—or just down to the local picnic spot.
Now for the bad news: Sound quality is what you’d expect for the price, which, depending on your taste, may or may not be a deal breaker. The two enclosed speakers offer adequate volume for small groups when listening outdoors, although sound quality suffers at the volume’s upper reaches. And while the iPhone’s touchscreen is operable through the clear plastic window, any bumps or wrinkles in the plastic create annoying dead spots.
All that said, its small form factor and ample protection make the pouch perfect for locations where earbuds are impractical and a larger speaker dock might get in the way. Our favorite use was listening to podcasts while gardening.For casual listeners who want an affordable, safe way to broadcast their tunes at the park, beach, or out in the yard, iHome’s Speaker Pouch does the trick.