iBeam, Leather Flip Case, MyPower MP1100, Mini Shield, Mini Shock

Introduction

A lot of people will have new iPods at the moment if Father Christmas has been generous – so here are some iPod essentials, and iPod not-quite-so-essentials.

First off is the epitome of non-essential iPod stuff, the iBeam. The iBeam laser pointer and iBeam torch are sold together for £17.99. Both simply plug into the headphone socket of your iPod to perform their functions, either as a torch or laser pointer. That’s all there is to them. They don’t have on off switches, which would be nice, but both come with a cap that lets you attach them to a key ring.

Of course, the first thing new iPod owners look for is a case to keep the iPod safe from scratches and bumps. PDair’s Leather Flip Case costs just £20.95. It isn’t just inexpensive – it’s a top-quality case that betters other cases costing three or four times as much. The design is thoughtful and functional, with a magnetic stud to hold the flap closed and a removable belt clip. There are even pockets for credit cards, though that would only add to the tragedy if you ever lost your iPod.

The one thing that disappoints is that the Flip Case isn’t available for the fatter 40GB iPod, though it is available for the other 4G and 3G models.

Even though the latest iPods have extended battery life, it still isn’t enough for some. There are a few battery packs available, but the best of them is the new MyPower from Tekkeon. It doubles as a belt-clip iPod holder and extends the battery life on 4G iPods to 32 hours. That should be enough for that flight to Australia or weekend camping trip. One downside, though, is that it can’t take actual batteries – it uses its own rechargeable power cell. That means once it’s out of juice you’ll need to find a power socket to recharge it, rather than topping it up with AAs.

It’s compatible with all iPods with the dock connection on the bottom. To make sure they all fit snugly, there are pads of different thicknesses to stick on the holder. There’s a special clip for holding the iPod mini.

The MyPower includes a USB 2.0 connection and a FireWire connection, so Windows users get the extra benefit of not needing a FireWire card. There’s even a line-out for connecting an iPod to external speakers.

Using the MyPower is straightforward: when your iPod is running low on juice, simply flip the switch on the bottom of the cradle and you’re good to go.


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