|‘Gawd bless ‘er!’|
Sometimes when out and about you can end up in a shop that despite all reservations and appearances, turns up a treasure.
Or something considered to be tat.
Poundshops are notorious for their sometime questionable quality. But on the other hand, they can sometimes turn out to be the best place to find something genuinely good.
Or something costing a pound…
In the packaging they appear quite pleasant; not overly garish or desperate in its attempts to grab your attention through the folding plastic outards . They seem quietly understated if anything; if it wasn’t for the blatant-fruit-based-electronics-giant-look to it you’d be unsurprised to find this on the shelves next to the more expensive docking stations available that aren’t ripping off someone else’s design quite so boldly.
|(Above: Subliminal advertising)|
They can be powered by either using four triple ‘A’ batteries or by using a six volt transformer. However, there’s a secret third option inside the packaging – a USB to ‘transformer end bit’ cable. Not just offering a solution to your USB-equipped-yet-speaker-amplification-needing needs but providing the means to it as well; more expensive brand names could learn something here, I think …
The build quality is nicely solid and firm beneath the fingers; smooth corners and a satisfying, if slightly alarming, clunk to the hinges when folding the speakers up. The top of the unit houses all the magic with an ON/OFF switch, a turny wheel volume control, red L.E.D. if you can’t remember what the words ON/OFF mean, and an input for a 6volt DC adaptor. Very clean and very unfussy.
The speakers themselves are nicely complimented with a faux mirror effect in the centre of each which is encircled by a pleasing band thick rubber hinting at the cone beneath. Hands-on they don’t feel like they’d easily dent or succumb to probing fingers or errant vandalism through accidental droppage, though the outer case itself may well not fare so well. So no throwing it up walls.
|‘…Wall-E or Johnny 5?’|
And depending on what you decide to shove the jack plug into, you will be greeted with either a fanfare or a fart. Hooking it up to a few different phones the sound came through somewhat muffled and bassy, but loud and clear enough to sit through an album or a few YouTube videos without them hurting my ears or getting annoying. A dab of equalizer adjustment resolved the bass issue on my phone, and no doubt the sound you get will depend on the nature of the device you plug the speakers into – a quick plug-n-listen around the house revealed nothing more than a slight over exuberance to project the sound louder than maybe the speakers can comfortably handle. Like I said, though; the equalizer is there for a reason.
|Looks menacing, but is completely ‘armless…|
It’s big selling feature, of course, and half of the whole reason for being is in its portable nature. And this it has a bloody good stab at that’d put the higher priced ones to shame. Simply slide out and remove the base which the phone stands in, fold in both speakers, et voila; still too big to fit into any pocket yet plenty small enough for most bags to amply accommodate, whilst eerily echoing the green Android mascot if it was white and had no arms or legs.
Leave the battery compartment empty and you can fold up the speaker cable and tuck it away. Leave the batteries in and there is nowhere for the speaker cable to go. No dents or hooks or random juts to drape the cable around; it just hangs there, flaccid.
Likewise, the removable ‘dock’ itself seems to be able to be slotted away at the back of the folded-up system. In practice it doesn’t slot far enough in due to the speaker cable being fed out from the casing directly in ints path. I’d encourage its complete removal and storage elsewhere.
Not good, especially if you intend to keep track of the ‘dock’ for any length of time. If your plans don’t include using it to stand things up in, though, you could just leave it at home and thus have no worry to concern about. Still, poor design thinking in a practical use scenario, nonetheless.
I’ve had this thing few days now and been using it mainly as a way to make the morning wake-up alarm on my phone louder and pod-casts through the laptop, and there hasn’t been any real issue to speak of that I could find. Obvious things like, if you’re going to use them to make your alarm clock on your phone louder and means leaving it turned on overnight, you will probably be needing to buy yourself an adaptor of the six volt DC kind, as leaving it turned on overnight once or twice is fine but long-term you’d be better off with a teas-maid because those things are cool. And batteries ain’t cheap.
Short-term, or for travel/social use, they are unbelievably good. Not only do they project the sound well enough for those at the front of the bus to hear, but they bring an air of Money to any phone that can fit in the cradle that stands up well under close inspection. They bely their single digit initial investment nature shamelessly, and don’t carry the usual ‘stigmata of the cheap’ flaws you come to expect from an electronic-focused product that costs only one pound – unrefined edges, the two halves of the case not quite matching up true, generally being a bit shit…
If you have a phone or an MP3 player or anything with a 3.5mm jack input that needs some amplification I’d be hard pushed to not recommend you get one of these in for yourself. Whilst it may not have the backing of some big name corporation or subtle-yet-still-obnoxious logo anywhere on the packaging, it does do the job specified on the front and it does do it extremely well. A definite must-purchase for a pound, and maybe even an impulse surprise gift for that special someone you know who sits on the back row of the local
|…think of the children!|
transportation system annoying those at the front with loud and distorted renditions of the latest chart hits through their phones.