Review: Sharing the Sound with the PodWave

The PodWave’s simple design and ease-of-use have earned it a place in (February 24th, 2005)

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Product Manufacturer: Macally U.S.A.

Price: MSRP US $39.00

The Good

  • Small, easy to use, and attractive.

The Bad

  • No light to indicate when speaker is on.

The panoply of iPod accessories reminds me of the early days of Macworld Expo when small entrepreneurs offered us many products to personalize our Macs. Accessorizing is now so fashionable that iPod vendors are getting into the act and are solving problems we hadn't thought of yet, with a whole new genre of add-ons.

I love my iPod, but the only time the family gets listens to it, is when we entertain ourselves with audio books in the car. MacAlly's PodWave solves the dilemma of the solitary listener in a highly portable way.

Size Matters

The PodWave is a small AA-battery powered stereo speaker that plugs into the top of any iPod (or any other MP3 player with a 3.5-mm jack). It can even be angled to get the best sound. The only control on the PodWave is an On/Off slider on the back, so make sure you slide it to the off position to extend your battery life. It packs 500mW of power output per channel, which is similar to what you'd hear through a normal walkman-type headphone. (You remember those don't you?) It weighs a scant .9oz and measures only 3.3" (W) x 1.3"(D) x 1.3"(H), so it slips easily into purse or pocket. You can listen up to 8 continuous hours on one battery, and kindly, one is included in the middle of the package, so make sure you don't miss it, as it is almost hidden.

Due to its petite size, the PodWave works best on high quality recordings, such as those purchased at the iTunes Store or saved in a 128k format, like the books from Audible.com. I found that the sound was not very loud, though quite adequate. It produced the best output when not turned all the way up.

Share and Share Alike

You can easily share your music or other recordings almost anywhere with the PodWave, but it is best used in a quiet atmosphere, where there is not a lot of ambient noise. (Trying to show it off in an Apple Store was less than impressive, but it generated a lot of excitement anyway.) Or use it for personal background music in your office cubicle, which is probably a better idea than risking missing coworkers' hot gossip when using noise-canceling headphones. The PodWave's convenience, simple design, and ease-of-use have earned it a place in my iPod tote.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Pam Borys, MacWoburn President


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