Danls92 Reviews: LiveSpeakR Please Register or Log in to view images Introduction: What I'm going to be reviewing is the LiveSpeakR Portable iPod/iPhone Speaker System. It is a portable speaker that interfaces with either your iPod or iPhone and acts as both a cradle/dock and sound system. How I Review: This review is broken up into 3 major categories (Design Overview, Performance, and Misc. Comments) with a final wrap-up at the end. I have never liked the method of reviewing involved the arbitrary assigning of numbers to quantitatively express a feeling because it is so subjective. Due to this, I will not be giving my opinions a numerical value, instead I will be using the words excellent, good, neutral, bad, and horrible. For a brief description of what each means: Excellent- Either perfect or just barely missing it. Something will receive an excellent rating if it is the best it could possibly be. Good- Possible to improve, but by no means bad. This is the verdict I would give something that is good for what it is, but has several things holding it back. Neutral- Neither good nor bad, I don't have any strong feelings. If I feel ambiguous about something it would receive this rating. Bad- The unfavorable outweighs the favorable aspects. If something is not well designed, or poorly implemented this is what I would rate it. Horrible- Unacceptably poor. If something impedes the thing it is meant to assist, or is completely useless I would say this about it. With that being said, let's start the review. 1) Design Overview There are two types of products in the world, those designed with the consumers in mind and those that aren’t. The LiveSpeakR falls squarely into the first. You can tell that a lot of thought obviously went into making this thing. Small details such as the cradle which is designed to snugly hold both models of iPod Touch and iPhone, a cutout on the side so that the volume buttons on the iPhone and 2nd Generation iPod Touch, and the expanding speaker feature (which I’ll talk about momentarily) are all seemingly trivial but outstandingly convenient inclusions. The wire can also be run through two different grooves to connect to either a top or bottom headphone jack to accommodate both the iPod Touch and iPhone. The best feature to my thinking is its ability to expand. Please bear with me as this is slightly difficult to explain, but normally when the iPod is in the docking cradle it is oriented vertically. However, if you manually rotate it 90 degrees to a horizontal position, the speakers extend so that they are not obstructed by the newly oriented iPod (see pictures above for a better understanding of what I’m talking about). The only small flaw I found in the design is that the power switch is a bit too recessed. Without much in the way of fingernails, you might find it difficult to use. However, in the case that you can’t power it off rest assured that this thing has tremendous battery life. I didn’t clock it exactly, but I was getting somewhere in the vicinity of 16-17 hours which is more than enough to get you through your day. The adjustable stand on the back is also a fantastic touch. Rating: Excellent This speaker set is one of the best designed ones I have come across. The whole thing is a testament to the attention to detail and consumer-based focus of those who designed it. Other than the recessed power switch (which may be seen as a boon to some), I can see no possible way to improve it. 2) Performance Seeing the relatively svelte design (compared to the iPod it’s rather chunky, but taking into account what it is, and in comparison to similar models it’s downright tiny), you would not expect very clear or loud sound. I was surprised to find that this thing blew my old speakers out of the water. At the very highest volume on especially bassy songs there would be a hint of buzz and muddiness, anything but sounded absolutely pristine. These things are small, so the bass doesn’t especially boom at normal volumes, but the mids and highs are very defined and clear. A nice feature is that the speakers are also RF Shielded, as opposed to many others so if you have an iPhone (or a not particularly well shielded cellphone such as mine), you won’t hear incessant beeping. As with that stated above, this all goes to show just how much though LiveSpeakR put into their product. Watching a video in landscape, all dialogue was clear and crisp, while all sound and effects were suitably detailed to impart an enjoyable listening experience. The landscape ability does not go to waste. Rating: Great I had a difficult time deciding this, but I opted to go with a great instead of excellent due to the slight bass deficiency. If the iPod had a better built in equalizer I’m sure this wouldn’t be a problem but assuming spec. features on the iPod/ iPhone it is a bit lacking. Other than that, the sound from this tiny speaker system is amazing. 3) Misc. I would just like to take this space to thank Erik Groset of LiveSpeakR for providing me with the ability to review this amazing little device. I’ll also just remark on the included AC/ Mini-USB charger and the detachable Cradle. Rating: N/A 4) Overall Overal Rating: Excellent In this economy, there isn’t much room for frivolous purchases. At $100 (temporarily, the price is generally $130), the LiveSpeakR isn’t for everyone. However, if the price tag is acceptable on your budget you really cannot go wrong with it. There is really no detail overlooked, feature missed, or restriction placed on this device. It does exactly what it claims, and goes further to really ensure that it isn’t a purchase regretted. If you are looking for an iPod Touch or iPhone speaker, look no further. Note: This speaker was provided as a complimentary review unit.