I’m all about my Big Band music. I have an Mp3 player full of it. I stream it via Live 365 Internet Subscription radio. I even have vinyl records of old recordings, and I have stuff older than that. I can’t always play my records and in my area; Big Band music cannot be found on the radio. So I lean on my Mp3 player and cell phone.
With the advent of Mp3 players and playing music through your cell phones, the need for external speakers has arisen. Because let’s be frank, I don’t care what kind of souped up cell phone you have; the speaker on it sucks. There are a lot of external speakers out there, but the Doodle Speaker Custom Speaker from Zazzle let’s you show your style.
Pictures in this review can be clicked for an enlarged view.
Now, I get that most of the iPod users use their icon-esque (if that’s a word) white ear buds for their players/phones. But what if you’re in a situation where you cannot be tethered to your computer/cell phone/Mp3 player?
As I’ve mentioned above, I listen, for a majority of the time, two specific genres of music: Classical or Big Band. When I say Big Band, I mean anything written and recorded from the 1910s through 1955. Long before Boardwalk Empire became popular, I was already listening to any broadcaster who played music from the Tin Pan Alley and pre-Prohibition days. I have to lean heavily on subscription streaming for this and I cannot always go about my day plugged into a set of ear buds. Also, it’s unreasonable to expect to lug a set of booming speakers around with me but I still want to be able to hear the tunes.
Enter Zazzle. Zazzle is a website that can pretty much customize anything from t shirts, mugs, even binders. And they have a ridiculous catalog of images to choose from. You’re not stuck with just pop culture, you can pretty much customize your item with images that truly reflect your personality, favorite color, hobby or even self expression.
Zazzle produces the Doodle Speaker that is roughly the size and weight of your average Android Smart Phone. It plugs in with either a 3.5 mm headphone plug in or even USB plug in. You can connect it to your computer, cell phone or Mp3 player.
What I like about the Doodle is that it’s small, portable, runs on AAA batteries or USB power, and you can plug it in to your computer . It’s also seriously customize-able. I’m not your average individual who is happy with hot pink swirls, hippy flowers or the Jonas Brothers if I have the option to choose a design on something. I’m not into skulls, Disney tween icons or some of the other stuff that your average 14 year thinks is hip. In fact, I’m rather decidedly unhip. I’m a retro girl in a high tech world. And while I truly love my internet and streaming radio, I’m not a big fan of modern design.
Zazzle.com provides a huge catalog of retro images ranging from the antique to the quirky. I chose (as seen) a retro 1940s radio as my image. Considering the genre of music I’m usually playing, I found it very apropos.
Now, at prices ranging from $39.95 to $55.00, you’re not going to get the highest quality of woofers and tweeters here and you’d be ridiculous to expect that. But the sound from the speakers is exponentially better than anything you’re getting out of the speaker of a cell phone. I know this because I’ve tried it.
Plus, you just can’t put a price on the Coolness Factor. Let’s face facts, the larger retailers cater to what’s considered “in” at the moment. They’re not interested in the retro, the quirky, the Off the Beaten Path. Large retailers take the Beaten Path. It’s safer to glean their best foot traffic sales there. Which is fine because Zazzle fills in the void for the rest of us. And for those of us who just can’t get on-board with what’s “in” at the moment, Zazzle provides us an individual way to personalize a common item into something one of a kind.
If I had to identify a con, it would be with the Zazzle site itself. I had a gift certificate for a certain amount of money to be spent on a the site. But when you go to enter in the code, there are no instructions to tell you not to enter in dashes or anything of the sort. So after several tries to get the certificate code to take, customer service had to be the one to explain that although the code may come with dashes…don’t use them.
Also, if you are looking for a specific image, Zazzle does provide a search box but try to be somewhat specific. I clicked on “retro” and wound up looking through close to 200 pages of retro images before finding the color of radio image I wanted. I had seen the black image on the first page but wanted the more bakelite brown color. Instead of clicking on the black and then having a drop down box to choose colors of that specific design, Zazzle features each design in whatever color they offer it in separately. What I should have done was type “Retro Radio” in the search box instead. So, fix on your image, do a search and choose from there.
All in all, it was a positive experience and since I’m all about personalizing things, I’m really pleased with the speaker.