Portable speakers made especially for the Apple iPod digital audio player are available in a veritable cornucopia of sizes, shapes and prices. For example, I’ve personally reviewed JBL’s On Tour speakers and Brando’s iPod audio system. Both provide good sound for a decent price, but I think I’ve found the ultimate speaker system for the iPod with Sonic Impact’s i-Fusion speaker system. Well at least it’s the ultimate until I find the next system to review :o)
Power output: 2W x 2
Speaker channel: 2 channel stereo output
Frequency response: 120Hz-20Khz
Signal to noise ration: 65dB
Speaker drivers: neodymium magnetic drivers @ 1.25″ x 4
Battery: 8.4V 2000mAH Lithium ion rechargeable
5 adapter sleeves
Upon first glance, the i-Fusion resembles a rugged little suitcase instead of a portable speaker system. The outside of the speaker cabinet is constructed of a blue or greenish gray hard canvas material. Clam shell by design, a heavy duty, smooth action nylon zipper holds the top and bottom halves of the case closed.
The top half of the i-Fusion is the speaker area, and the bottom half is the docking area. The speakers are built right into the case, and can’t be removed.
5 different adapters are included with the i-Fusion to allow for 3rd, 4th and 5th generation iPods to fit in the docking area. Each of the adapters has a little picture of the iPods that work with it, so that you won’t have any problem figuring out which one to use. For my 60gb iPod Video, I was able to slide on the adapter and then plug the combo into the docking area. The fit is snug, but not overly so.
If you don’t have an iPod or an iPod with a docking connector, you’re not totally left out in the cold. Included with the i-Fusion is a short 3.5mm stereo cable that you can plug one end into the earphone jack of your audio device and the other end into the line-in jack on the left side of the i-Fusion. That’s also where you plug in the AC adapter to charge the internal lithium ion batteries. There is also a 30pin connector that you can plug your iPod docking cable into so that you can use the i-Fusion as your iPod docking station for your computer.
Between the left and right speakers is a pop out storage compartment that can hold your iPod and adapter when you’re traveling or when the speakers are not in use.
Another storage compartment is located in the bottom section of the i-Fusion, next to the battery. The manual mentions using this compartment to store your earbuds. For some reason, that just seems odd to me, but maybe it’s just me :o) I would rather see the AC adapter shrunk down so it could be stowed in this area…
The interface for the speaker set is simple to understand and use. There is a sliding On/Off power switch, + and – volume adjustment buttons and a row of LEDs that display the battery status. The i-Fusion has an automatic power off feature that will activate when the iPod has been idle for more than 8 minutes. Per charge, the i-Fusion should play between 12-20hours (depending on volume settings). The i-Fusion also charges your iPod’s batteries while it is docked, so that will also have an effect on battery life.
In use, the i-Fusion speakers sound really great for such a compact kit. They better sound good considering the price tag is $150. Max volume is quite loud and due to the patented Maxxbass psycho-acoustic technology, you get some thump with your tunes. They work great turned low, or turned up. I can’t find any complaints audio wise. The only thing I would have liked to have seen included, that was left out, would be some kind of remote control. Using the click wheel is a little awkward while the iPod is inserted into the dock. This is a pretty minor gripe though. The i-Fusion portable rechargeable speaker makes a great travel companion for your iPod. Take it to your office, camping, etc., so that you can share your tunes and videos with the world. Or at least those that want to listen.