Although the iPhone and iPod Touch have built in speakers, their sound is, to be kind, less than high-fidelity. The small speakers sound tinny at best — about enough to listen to voice audio, but hardly enough to crank it up to 11. And, of course, they can be fragile devices, subject to breaking when dropped.
The iMainGo 2 and iMainGo X from Portable Sound Laboratories provide a compact speaker system for your iPhone or iPod, but with a great big sound and a lot of protection. I’ve been testing out the devices with my kids over the past few weeks, and can report that they are both now huge fans.
Both devices are similar in style and form factor, with the major difference being the power source. The iMainGo 2 uses four AAA batteries and promises 30 hours of continuous play. In several weeks of use, my son hasn’t had to come to me asking for them to be replaced.
The iMainGo X, on the other hand, uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a reported life of up to 12 hours. Additionally, the X has two external headphone jacks for sharing your tunes with a friend and a mic jack if you want to Karaoke. My daughter likes to keep hers around to listen to music while studying, reading, or hula-hooping.
To use either device, you place your iPhone or iPod into the pouch, held securely in place with padding, and press the device’s screen against a clear plastic membrane that still allows you to access the touch screen. This works OK, but I did have some trouble if I needed to access any controls near the edge of the screen.
Although it will not be replacing anyone’s surround sound stereo system, the iMainGo speakers are strong and clear: perfect for running around, outdoor parties or kids at bedtime. The iMainGo adds some bulk to your device (5.7″ × 3.8″ × 2.4″ or 145mm × 96mm × 61mm), but that will keep your precious device snug and secure in its well-padded cocoon.
It is not an instant process getting it in and out, though, requiring you to unzip the package, remove the bracing clip and padding, plug in the headphone jack and then replace everything. The zipper can be a little tight around the corners, and although water resistant it is far from waterproof.
If you are looking for something that allows your kids to play their iDevice while still keeping it safe, the iMainGo 2 is a steal at $40. If you need something that allows the kids to share a device or want something you can use at a party, then you can’t go wrong with the iMainGo X at $70. You can find more information about the iMainGo 2 and iMainGo X at www.imaingo.com.
(For another opinion on the iMainGo 2, see GeekDad Jonathan Liu’s review of it from November 2009.)
Wired: Great sound from small speakers. Keeps your iPhone/iPod safe and secure but still accessible. Great for traveling.
Tired: Zipper can be tricky to close, touch screen can be difficult to use especially at the edges.
Note: Portable Sound Laboratories provided products for review.
Win an iMainGo X
Want to win an iMainGo X? Just in time for Saturnalia, We have three to give away.
To enter, please fill out the form below — or if the form doesn’t work for you for any reason, enter here instead. One winner swill be chosen at random at 11:59pm Eastern Time on Tuesday, December 13. The giveaway is open only to residents of the U.S. and Canada.