way to listen to your iPod on the go is using the included earphones, or even a pair
of your own 3rd party earphones or headphones. But what if you're on the go, and
you want to share your music, and don't have an iPod speaker system at your disposal.
Perhaps at school, or in the park, or at a friend's house, you might like to share
your music. Or, if you're like me, sometimes using the earphones is just plain uncomfortable.
I tend to get ear aches after prolonged use of earphones. A very convenient solution
to this need is a portable iPod speaker, and one such product is the iMainGo by Portable
- Compact and light
- High output stereo
- Tuned porting for
- Custom fits all iPods
- Solid construction
and built-in air cushions protect iPod
- Access to iPod controls
without opening iMainGo
- Wake up alarm feature
(for alarm-equipped iPods only)
- High quality sewn
- Removable carry strap
$39.99 (seen as low as $34.88 on Amazon.com)
- iMainGo case
- Internal iPod speaker
- Foam insert
- iPod back plate
- Velcro strap
- Carry strap
Setting up your
iMainGo is pretty straight forward. Open the case, and insert 4 AAA batteries (not
included). It isn't
the most user-friendly of battery compartments, and you will want to navigate the
straps in the compartment so that when you want to change the batteries, you can
use the straps to remove them easily. After installing the batteries, grab your iPod,
connect the internal iMainGo speaker cable to your iPod, and then push the face of
your iPod against the clear plastic front of the case. Place the foam insert against
the back of your iPod (in this review, I'm using the iPod classic), then place the
iPod back plate against the foam. Use the Velcro strap to tighten the iPod into place,
flip the switch to "Music", and then close the case.
The iMainGo comes
in 5 colors: Pink, Black, Blue, Silver and Green. This review is for the black iMainGo.
Black iMainGo with Black iPod playing inside
How It Works
Once the iPod
is inserted in the iMainGo, using the iPod is no different from using the iPod by
itself. You use all of the main iPod controls to navigate through the menus, play
and pause music, and adjust volume. The iMainGo itself has no adjustments, only the
switch that toggles between OFF, MUSIC, and ALARM.
The music is played through the iMainGo speakers which are on the back of the case.
Back of iMainGo
How It Rates
For such a compact unit, the sound from this case is amazingly good. I was very impressed
when I first played it, and continue to enjoy its sound from subsequent playing in
a variety of different situations and volume levels. The sound is far superior to
any handheld radios that you may have used in the "old days". I was very
surprised at the crispness and bass of the music being played through the iPod.
Mind you, this is not on par with your home stereo or $200 iPod speaker system by
any stretch of the imagination, but then you cannot carry these systems with you
to the beach, to school, or to the park (well, okay, some parks have electrical outlets
that you could plug in an iPod speaker system).
Access to the iPod controls through the clear plastic window is easy, and I never
had any problems with the controls. I did not have to use greater pressure, just
used the iPod controls just like I normally would. In addition, the case serves
as protection for the iPod. It's very sturdy, and the speakers on the back are also
protected with grill guards. If you were to drop this unit, both the speakers and
the iPod would likely come out of it unscathed.
Have the on/off switch inside the case at first seemed like a minor inconvenience,
because you have to unzip the unit to open it up, flip the switch, then re-zip.
Although this is only a minor pain, human nature dictates habit to avoid minor pain,
which leads to the habit of simply forgetting to turn off the switch when you are
done playing music. This leads to the one major issue with the unit. If you leave
the switch on, even if you do not play the iPod, it drains the batteries. It's too
bad there is not a sensing device built-in such that it automatically shuts off when
there is no music playing. In fact, it would be a great improvement if the device
activated on and off automatically based upon whether the iPod was on or off. I
tested this unit for several months, and I went through at least 6 sets of batteries
(and that's 4 AAA batteries a set).
Having said that, I can also attest to the longevity of the iMaingo. There is no
degradation of sound over time, and the unit looks just as good now as it did when
I first received it. I brought it to the beach where I was able to share music with
my friends. I brought it to school when I was taking Chinese classes, and I was
able to use it to share Chinese music with my classmates. I brought it to China
where I could play music in the hotel room as well as listen to MP3 versions of my
Chinese lessons. This iMaingo has been halfway around the world and back, and still
plays like a champ (not to mention withstanding the dreaded airport baggage handling).
Laboratories brings us the iMaingo, a convenient portable speaker for your iPod.
The iMaingo packs a powerful sound in a small case, and the case provides ample
enough protection for both the iPod and the external speakers. The case is stylish,
and easy to grip, but the on/off switch is tucked away inside. If you don't remember
to turn off the switch, which is easy to do, the 4 AAA batteries will drain even
when the iPod is not in use. The battery issue is the only thing that keeps this
unit from being rated 5 mice. The convenience of having portable iPod music far
outweighs the battery issue. You can take the iMaingo with you anywhere and share
your iPod music, or simply listen with the comfort of not having plugs jammed in
your ears. If you have an iPod, and you ever have a need to use the iPod on-the-go
without headphones, the iMaingo is the way to go.
- Convenient playback of
- Portable good quality
- Protective case
- Share music or listen
without the discomfort of headphones
- Must re-open case every
time to toggle power
- Easy to forget to turn
- If iMaingo left on,
it drains batteries
even when iPod is not in use
out of 5 Mice