Good sound Looks cool. Decent price. Includes remote.
Unstable base. Silver finish hard to keep clean. Larger iPods may knock it over.
Summer is in full swing in the northern hemisphere and at this time of year you can't step near a beach or pool without seeing or rather hearing, an iPod blaring from some speaker system. Enter Skullcandy. Skullcandy is a leading designer of headphones, mp3 player watches, and audio accessories. Some of the unique products in their lineup include audio enabled snow jackets, helmets, and bags. Skullcandy products are built with the intention of standing up to the most extreme situations imaginable.
Released in June, Skullcandy's audio bazooka, the Pipe, is a tube shaped portable iPod stereo dock. Available in black, silver, or rust, the Pipe retails for 69.95. Inside the package are a matching remote and a power brick, very similar to an Apple product. The solid, well-built system includes a power cord of ample length, but you can power the Pipe with 4 AA batteries when a wall outlet isn't near. An image of the skull logo, true to the name brand, graces the power brick and both ends of the Pipe itself.
The simple controls on the Pipe itself are just volume up and down buttons on the front and a power button on the back. The remote features all the other controls including, the volume, play and pause, shuffle, repeat, plus forward and back buttons, as well as more advanced "menu up" and "select" functions. The nicely designed remote works reliably from within a reasonable distance.
I tested the pipe with a variety of music ranging from rock to pop to country. The Pipe is capable of 5.2 Watts of output and has a frequency response of 100Hz to 20k Hz. For as small as it is, the Pipe certainly has capable volume. I am very impressed with just how loud it can play and still maintain its audio clarity. While I don't have the hearing range of a dog, the Pipe lives up to its frequency response ratings fairly well.
Not So Practical
From a functional perspective, the Pipe is merely adequate. The silver finish on the model I tested looks great, but is an absolute smudge-magnet. This small visual problem is forgivable, but the fact that the Pipe isn't completely stable is not forgivable and this is the sole reason the Pipe didn't receive a perfect grade. With a full size iPod video perched on top, the small rubber feet that keep the Pipe from falling over are not adequate and the Pipe wobbles. If the iPod rocks back and forth even a little its weight alone is enough to tip the Pipe backwards.
The Bottom Line
The Pipe sounds great and is a good value for the money, but its footing is in dire need of improvement. On the plus side, it is compatible with the iPhone and all available iPods and charges the player when plugged in.