The system measures approximately 5.5 x 12 x 9.5cm. This means it’s bulkier than standard iPod cases, but that bulk hides a level of technology that took three years to develop. At the back you’ll find a black, plastic grille protecting stereo speaker cones and what appears to be a pair of tiny subwoofers. On the front is a clear, plastic cover that protects the front of the iPod and lets you see what’s on the iPod’s screen. You also control the click wheel through that plastic screen, though accuracy suffers a little as the plastic is so smooth.
Inside the case is a foam-covered compartment to hold your iPod. The product ships with adaptors for different-size players to ensure a snug fit. A cable runs from the facing side of the opened-out case into the iPod’s headphone socket to grab the sound. The decision to use a mini-jack cable rather than an iPod dock connector means iMainGo can be used with any compatible music device, not just iPods. You’ll also find a battery compartment, which holds four AAA batteries (offering up to 30-hours of music playback), and a toggle switch with three settings: Off, Music and Alarm. The last lets you put the system into low-power stand-by mode while you wait for the iPod’s alarm to sound. A green light illuminates when the device is switched on.
It’s loud – far louder than many comparable systems we’ve tried. We were impressed by the clarity and width of its sound stage, particularly for a device this small. iMainGo’s sound output will easily fill a small room, and is more than adequate for listening to music outside.
Intense competition among iPod-product vendors should mean consumers get to choose among quality products, and this speaker-cum-case system is a quality cut. We hope future versions of iMainGo add iPod recharging to the mix, but if this is what Portable Sound Laboratories can do with tiny speakers, we can’t wait to see what it delivers in a larger set.