Speakal iPig: Impressive sound quality in a cute package

Shopping for a gift for Valentine’s Day can be a challenge if you’ve been with the same person for a long time. Holidays, birthdays and anniversaries add up, and it can sometimes feel like you’ve given that special someone everything they could possibly want. That’s obviously not the case, but if you’re completely out of ideas, you might want to consider Speakal’s iPig docking station for the iPod, which delivers surprisingly great sound in the shape of a bulbous little pig.

Available in pink, yellow, white and black, the iPig might look like something you’d pick up at the toy store, but it’s actually a pretty impressive piece of machinery – something you’ll quickly realize upon feeling the weight and durability of the system. The docking station can be used with any Apple iPod (there are six cradle pieces to choose from, but it even works without one attached) and though your iPhone will try telling you it’s not compatible, it actually is.

The system itself boasts five speakers with a total output of 25-plus Watts, including a 4-inch subwoofer on the bottom of the unit, two speakers on the front that double as the pig’s eyes, and two more underneath its ears. The ears also happen to include the docking station’s coolest feature: touch activated volume control that works better than I could have possibly imagined. Additionally, there’s a handy remote for all of the other controls like play/pause, fast forward/rewind, and bass and treble level adjustment, and you can connect the speaker to a TV or gaming console using the 3.5mm AUX input jack in the back.

Oh yeah, and not only does this speaker get loud (so loud, in fact, that I didn’t dare test to see how high the volume would go at the risk of blowing out my eardrums), but it doesn’t appear to lose any quality as a result. Granted, the cutesy pig design pretty much guarantees that no guy would want to purchase such a speaker system for himself, but between its impressive sound and portable, compact size, the Speakal iPig would make the perfect gift for that gadget-crazy lady in your life.


iHome Studio Series iP1 Brings Decent Sound at Hefty Price

The iHome Studio Series iP1.iPod/iPhone speaker sets are a dime a dozen, usually offer tinny sound in a reasonably mobile package. On rare occasion, they’ll even include some extra features (omg it has a radio!!!) for a few extra bucks. For the most part, though, these things are unimpressive in terms of both sound and user experience.

iHome, a weathered player in the market, hopes to change some of that with their Studio Series iP1. The unit is flashier than most, sporting some “museum quality” acrylic finish between two 4-inch woofers with 1-inch tweeters stacked on top. The unit is driven by a 100-watt amp, giving it enough power to put out some decent sound. An included video port allows you to run video from the attached device while pumping sound through the iP1.

$300 is a little more than I like to spend on a sound system for my apartment, but this thing could be great for the college freshman in your life. The Studio Series iP1 will release some time this July.