Product: Mobile speakers for iPod
Minimum Requirements: Any iPod starting with the 1st gen nano
Retail Price: EUR129.00, US$199.00
Availability: Out now
I come from a time when a man was judged by the size of his stereo equipment. I used to see these racks of receivers, EQs and cassette decks, speakers as big as me, and think, “One day, I’ll have the money to fill a room with stereo equipment so big that people will think Presidents are buried under them.” Even now, I find myself taking over used component systems just because they’re large and have wood grained finish, but such systems always remain untouched in my attic.
This is because everything’s getting small. And everything’s getting small because the science of sound fellows are finding ways to get big sound of little systems. One of the littlest systems I’ve tried out recently is the eFizz Travel Mobile Station for iPod from Ewoo. And although it certainly delivers on the little, it misses the mark on the sound.
The most important and successful feature of the eFizz Travel is its portability. Powered by a lithium polymer battery that provides up to 20 hours of play, the eFizz Travel comes ready to do just that: travel. It measures just shy of 7-1/2 inches wide, 4-3/4 inches high and about 3-3/4 inches deep, and weighs right around one pound sans iPod. Its curvy designed is polished black and is accented by a speaker grill that wraps around the entire face of the unit.
The iPod docking station sits between the two speakers in the front, allowing for easy access. Dock adapters are provided for the compatible iPod models, so you’re assured of a good fit. However, because your iPod doesn’t rest against anything for support, it’s possible to bump it around while connected to the dock port. I never had any trouble with this, but I don’t like it when the iPod is relying solely on the dock port to remain in place. A USB port in the back allows you to connect the eFizz Travel to your computer so you can manage your iPod via iTunes while it’s connected, and so you can download/install firmware updates for the system itself.
Beneath the dock port are two LEDs. A blue one indicates when the eFizz is charging, and flashes when the speaker is in use. A red one flashes to give you a general indication of battery life remaining. Press the button over these lights and a battery icon will appear on your iPod’s screen to show exactly how much battery life remains.
The battery is quite strong, allowing up to 20 hours between charges. I never let it bottom out, and found myself recharging it at around 15 hours. If the battery becomes too weak, the volume will simply shut off. It takes about six hours for the eFizz Travel to fully charge, but you can play your music during that time. An AC power adapter is provided for charging and playing.
The eFizz Travel comes with a remote, but it’s not terribly functional. You can use it to play/skip/pause your music, as well as adjust and mute the volume. You can’t, however, select songs from your iPod. That has to be done on the iPod itself, so you’ll have to be near the system if you want to change bands.
Although the eFizz travel features a Cabasse 2.0 audio system, it comes in at only 4W. It’s pretty light for anything but small, enclosed environments. Worse, the sound is pretty flat. There’s not a lot of bass to be heard, and the dynamic range suffers for it. For comparison, I didn’t see much difference between the eFizz Travel and the built-in iMac speakers, although the eFizz Travel does provide more volume.
Considering its premium cost, buying the eFizz Travel for anything other than portability really doesn’t make much sense. You can get much better sound from stationary speakers half the price. And because the sound is not that powerful, even the portability of it suffers if you’re looking to fill a large room or listen outdoors. I can see myself packing the eFizz Travel away for prolonged stays in hotels or taking it to rooms in my house that don’t have stereo equipment, but that’s about it.
A victim of the 70s and 80s, it’s hard for me to look at speakers this small and wonder how they can possibly get great sound. Unfortunately, the eFizz Travel doesn’t do much to change this notion. If the system were half the price, I could recommend it. As it stands, though, only consider the eFizz Travel Mobile Station for iPod if the desire to have a convenient, lightweight way to take your audio from room to room outweighs the need for quality sound.