Anyone remember those CD cases released several years ago that contained a flat panel speaker for listening to and sharing your music on the go? With the booming MP3 Player market the CD case has become a think of the past, replaced with hundreds or thousands of songs in a device so small it can slip into your pocket. Portable Sound Laboratories have released a product that combines your MP3 Player with a protective case with integrated stereo speakers to create the iMainGo.
The iMainGo is marketed is an iPod accessory, but it should fit many brands of MP3 Player that are similar in size to iPods. Included in the box is the iMainGo Speaker Case, a small manual, a lanyard, and several pieces of foam.
These foam pieces let you customise the holder for your particular iPod. The pieces for the iPod Nano were already in, so I didn?t have to change them.
To put your iPod in the case, you have to undo a piece of Velcro which releases the holder.
The speakers connect via a simple 3.5mm headphone plug, which means they can be connected to anything with a standard headphone jack.
When your iPod is in the case it is visible and controllable through a plastic window on the front. The scroll wheel works fine through the plastic, as does the buttons.
Inside the case, which is held shut by a good quality zip, is the battery door and the on/off switch. The iMainGo takes 4 AAA batteries. Unfortunately none are included in the box, so you will have to buy some.
The on/off switch has 3 modes: OFF, MUSIC and ALM. The first is obvious, the second turns the speakers on, and the third is for when you use your iPod as an alarm. When the alarm goes off, the speakers power on a play the alarm. Great idea!
So how does it sound? I honestly wasn?t expecting much, as the speakers are small, and they looked like they were made of plastic and tin foil, but they are actually really good!! They won?t win any quality contests, but for regular listening, and even with some volume, the speakers generally sound very good. At very high volume they tend to vibrate a bit, which sounds annoying, but turning it down slightly will stop that. I was even more surprised at the base. This little thing can really thump!
Overall the case is of good quality, and feels quite durable. Although I don?t really feel like throwing my almost new iPod Nano 8GB around to test it, the case feels like it can withstand a few drops, whilst protecting whatever iPod you have nestled inside. Probably best not to do it with the HDD-based iPods though.
I was actually able to fit my Treo 750v in perfectly without the iPod holder in. With a 2.5mm adaptor it works great!!
Battery life seems pretty good. I have listened to it for about 10hrs so far and there are no signs its about to die. According to the site you will get 30hrs out of 4 AAA batteries which isn?t too bad. I would have much preferred a built-in Li-Ion battery for the price, as it is much easier (and cheaper) to plug it in for a charge every now and then instead of swapping out batteries. I would suggest you find a good set of rechargeable AAAs.
One other thing that I think would be a good addition is an external 3.5mm out so that you can easily connect some headphones to your iPod while it is still in the case. Its not a quick motion to remove the iPod from the iMainGo, so an external headphone jack would be nice.
The iMainGo is a good quality iPod case that trades compact size for some pretty incredible speakers. It is definitely not designed to be your everyday iPod case, but for those times when you want to share your music, the iMainGo is an excellent choice.
The iMainGo is available directly from MacOnline, The Mac Pac, and various other retailers.
What I Like: Great sound for the size, good quality case, reasonably priced for quality of build/sound
What Needs Improvement: A Li-Ion Battery instead of 4 AAAs (which aren’t even included)