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Flip it closed, zip it up, and go.
We’ve seen a lot of iPod speakers, some of which are touted as “portable.” Most of the time, portable merely means they’re small enough to fit in carry-on luggage. Maybe, if you’re lucky, they can use battery power and have a carrying case thrown in. The i-F3 speakers are one of the truly portable sets we’ve seen.
When folded, the i-F3 is about as big as a Harry Potter novel. Open the i-F3 and you’ll find an iPod dock, speakers, an AM/FM radio, and an alarm clock. A hidden compartment stores the basic remote control that has a range of about 20 feet.
The device has a rechargeable battery that lasted about 18 hours for us, but unfortunately, there’s no place to store the power adapter, which you need to recharge the battery. The battery contributes to the i-F3’s hefty 3 pounds—we know that doesn’t sound like much weight, but once it’s in your backpack, 3 pounds can feel like a lot.
You can set either of the two alarms to wake to radio, buzzer, or iPod, and if you choose iPod, you’ll awaken to the last song played. The Snooze button is in an easy-to-locate place, but the Exit/Disp button that shuts the alarm off isn’t so easy to find, especially if you’re blurry-eyed in the morning.
The speakers sound good—we’ve heard better, but the audio has a good range of high, middle, and low sounds. We were surprised by the bass response from this small device. It’s loud enough to fill an average-size hotel room, but don’t turn the volume up all the way or you’ll encounter distortion.
The bottom line. If you have room in your bag, the i-F3 can make for a good travel buddy for your iPod.
COMPANY: Sonic Impact
REQUIREMENTS: Dockable iPod
Compact form for traveling. Decent sound quality. Rechargeable battery.
No adapter storage. Some distortion at high volumes. Heavy.