One of the first things that I appreciated about my iPhone – beyond the gorgeous touchscreen and all the other obvious convergent benefits, was that it was the first iPod available with an external speaker. Granted, it wasn’t a rockin’ sound system by any means, but it was certainly loud enough to enjoy without earphones in a quiet environment. I don’t always want to wear earphones, and having the option of listening to my music without putting the iPhone in a dock has been pretty sweet.
Because of the ifrogz Audiowrapz, I can now have a similar experience when using my nano…no extra batteries needed.
Impedance – 8Ω±15% (1kHz)
Speaker Size – 11.9 mm
Output Power – 126±3db
Input Power – 0.5 W
Frequency Range – 20 – 20k Hz
Distortion – 5% Max
Magnet Type – NdFeB
Measuring exactly 4.17″ tall x 2.2′ wide x 0.53″ thick, the Audiowrapz is a 100% silicone case which will almost completely cover and protect the nano, with the exception of its screen and wheel. A clear screen protector is included in the package, so leaving the screen exposed doesn’t end up being an issue.
The entire case is rubbery and grippy, but it is not the same creepy texture as the “dollskin” silicone cases that I have griped about in the past; this one feels like rubber, not skin, and I like that much better.
Available in hot pink, baby pink, neon green (which I have), red, black, gray, minty green and baby blue, you can pick an Audiowrapz to suit your personality or match your iPod. Further personalization can be done by selecting a complimentary or contrasting Screenz to cover the scroll wheel.
Getting the nano into the Audiowrapz is a simple matter of peeling back the silicone from each corner of the packing form…
…and then just sliding the nano inside and pulling the skin back over its corners. A 3.5mm jack connector plugs into the nano as it is inserted and seated; three itty-bitty speakers built into the wrap run directly from the nano’s rechargeable battery. The wrap is cut so that the screen is perfectly framed, the wheel is also easily accessed.
The nano should be fully charged before inserting, since there will be no access to the sync & charge port while it’s in the wrap.
There is an earphone jack on the bottom; when the earphones are plugged in music will no longer stream from the speakers. Granted, putting the otherwise svelte nano inside the Audiowrapz is like putting a model inside a fat suit, but the nano will still be plenty pocketable and definitely protected.
I’ll bet that you are wondering how the Audiowrapz sounds, right? The answer is surprisingly good. Really bassy songs will tend to bottom out if you have the equalizer set to thump, but when it’s set to “small speakers” or any of the less bassy settings, the sound is completely acceptable.
Battery life is also surprisingly good when the nano is in the Audiowrapz. I started listening at 7pm, and at midnight I still had more than half of my battery life showing.
No, the music played isn’t going to compete with a $500 iPod audio dock, but so what? For a portable, inexpensive and simple to use combination speaker case, the Audiowrapz rocks! It’s something that you could hand to a child without worrying that they might hurt the iPod or damage their delicate ears.
The ifrogz Audiowrapz is available directly from the manufacturer and other retailers. According to my contact, there will also be an Audiowrapz case available for the iPod touch soon.
Update 04/25/08: I have just received word that the ifrogz Audiowrapz are now available in Wal-Mart stores nationwide.
MSRP: $24.99 as tested, $27.99 if you add a Screenz
What I Like: Easy to use, protective, surprisingly good audio quality
What Needs Improvement: Nothing, it’s a really clever idea