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.
It’ll wake you up, all right—if the bright display lets you get to sleep. The iLuv i166’s retro circular design is a nice break from the current set of shoebox-shaped alarm clock iPod docks glutting the market. But when the room lights go out, the problems of the device shine through. Even though you have the option of dimming the blue display, the choices seem to be bright and oh-my-God-my-eyes! bright. Covering the display negates the reason for having a clock in the first place, and moving the i166 across the room brings up a new issue: The display is unreadable at about 10 feet. You’ve basically traded your alarm clock for a bright blue night light.
The Rig Kontrol 3 pedal requires a Mac host. The Holy Grail of the electric guitar involves a single magical box that replaces racks of gear and puddles of pedals, with no compromise to quality, accuracy and flexibility. Guitar Rig 3 is a significant evolution in digital guitar hardware and software. It could easily serve as the cornerstone of a completely digital guitar setup.
The screen’s nice, but you can’t play your brand-new iPod’s video on it. The iMep MP-702-388 looks like a portable TV, and it is, but it’s also a boom box with an AM/FM radio, a DVD video player, a CD player, and an iPod speaker. The radio works well, and there’s a collapsible antenna to help with reception. We didn’t have much luck with the TV, even when we attached a TV antenna, but you if you have cable, just connect it to the iMep. DVD movies looked good onscreen, and you can use the included remote control to navigate through the DVD menus.
The iPod touch is primarily a media player. Everything else is gravy. In our first look at the iPod touch last month (Nov/07, p68), we said that it’s basically a phoneless iPhone. It turns out that the iPod touch is even less than a phoneless iPhone. But if you want a media player first and an Internet device a distant second, the touch offers a satisfying experience.