The Squeezebox Duet helps lazy music lovers live the dream of easy access to their digital album collections. Like an AirPort Express, the compact receiver connects to your stereo and plays songs from a wirelessly networked Mac, so you can enjoy your tunes without having to get up off the couch. But the receiver is just half of Logitech’s duo: Taking a feature from high-end systems, the Duet lets you control everything using its Wi-Fi LCD remote. That means that you’re free to wander away from the stereo and your Mac, changing tracks from anywhere on your Wi-Fi network. While the Duet hits a couple of sour notes, the sound quality and convenience are hard to beat.
Having good music in your car is almost as essential as filling it with gas. But looking down at your iPod’s controls can be downright unsafe. You can often skip a track without taking your eyes off the road, but turning on shuffle or selecting a new playlist can be several menus away. Scosche’s IPNRFC is an RF remote control that attaches to your steering wheel for heads-up control of your dockable iPod.
A speaker in every room has been many a homeowner’s dream. Alas, this usually means hiring professionals to run speaker wires through your house—or doing it yourself and inadvertently creating softball-size holes that start off the size of a pea. The Eos Wireless iPod Speakers bring the dream of a home filled with music without your having to hang large pictures to cover up any DIY attempts.
Dictate comes with a USB headset. Dictation programs act as your personal typist, transcribing words as quickly as you speak—theoretically, anyway. Initially, Dictate did an excellent job transcribing our spoken phrases into onscreen text. And it even let us control menus, edit text, and access other functionality in the open app, so we kept our hands off the keyboard with great success. Dictate impressed us with its quick, accurate performance. However, we hit a wall almost immediately. In its initial release, Dictate can’t improve its accuracy when listening to your corrections. If it thinks you mean “racket” when you say “wrecked,” it always will until MacSpeech releases an update.
The isolation headset embodies form and function. Like the iPod before it, the iPhone has created a cottage industry of cases, add-ons, and headsets. Maximo is hoping that its latest foray into the headset market will get you to drop Apple’s standard white headset. Right out of the box the iMetal headset came equipped with something all manufacturers should include: an extension cable. Too many times we’ve had to reconsider which pocket to stash our iPhone in because of too-short headset cables.
Choose Music > Pop-H when you're rocking out to Abba with headphones. Sure, it's easy enough to do, but we were too lazy to change Hear's preset to Hip Hop / Rap-H when the song switched to Akon's Smack That. Even nonaudiophiles can appreciate an app like JoeSoft's Hear, which, for $49.95, boosts the sound quality of your entire digital music library - and any other audio you care to listen to on your Mac. After an admittedly quick look at the app, however, we found ourselves wishing JoeSoft could build in a few more features that cater to lazy mousers like us. To wit: With its dozens of music presets - from Alternative / Punk to Hip Hop/Rap to Techno, all for both speakers and headphones, choosing the one you want quickly is, well, a challenge.
Perfect for camping, hotel rooms, or anywhere you need a tiny speaker. We’ve seen hundreds of iPod cases, scores of speakers, and even a few novelty products like bags and coolers that pack built-in speakers with iPod connections. But the iMainGo 2 combination case and speaker is one of the most useful and decent-sounding products we’ve tested—especially for its $40 price.
It looks great, but the Tango X2’s sound won’t make you feel like dancing. At first blush, the Tango X2 iPod speaker dock gets plenty of points for design. The smooth, black box takes the space of a couple of encyclopedias, and its elegant silver trim works dressed up for a dining room or down for a bedroom. But the Tango X2 has two left feet where it really counts, blasting out shrill, distorted sound.
This is one bug that won’t spoil your picnic. Standing out is important in the crowded iPod-speaker market, and Vestalife manages to do that with its first entry into the field, the Ladybug. At first glance, you might not even think it’s a sound system at all. It just looks like a 5.4-by-5.6-inch ball that resembles an overgrown ladybug with closed wings. When you open it up, the speakers fan out, exposing the docking area, and the device looks ready to fly off your shelf. Parents will appreciate the unique rubberized coat of paint that gives the sub-2-pound speaker an original feel and makes it simple for kids to grip without dropping.