Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gifts for Valentine's Day - Five iPod accessories

1. JBL OnTime 400 iHD

The JBL OnTime 400 iHD is an iPod-ready hybrid digital radio speaker dock that's packed with features, but it's not for everyone. It's pricey and lacking in low-end response, but I became smitten with the unit for its HD radio capabilities and plentiful alarm options. The HD radio reception is fantastic and each station is allowed to broadcast to two subsets of its frequency, which means you get a lot more content than from standard radio. You can also tag songs to the iPod for purchasing in iTunes later, and set what seems like a million different alarm options. Cool.

2. m:Station Orb 2.1 Speaker

No device inspires fun design quite like the iPod. Case in point: the m:Station Orb 2.1 Speaker, an eye-catching globe painted in a variety of hues to match the second generation iPod Nano (sadly, we've seen no evidence that m:Station will be releasing Orbs to match the current line). This funky speaker wins points for its unique style, useful remote control, and impressive bass response. If you want to stand out from the iPod crowd, owning this would certainly help.

3. B&W Zeppelin Speakers

Call me crazy, but there's just something about a speaker shaped like a blimp that appeals to me. It helps that the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin offers solid sound quality and includes connection ports for your TV (meaning it can do double duty as a home theater system in a pinch). But really, it's all about style in this case, and for $600, I expect nothing short of stellar looks. The Zeppelin delivers.

4. Numark iDJ2 Mixing Console for iPod

Let's be real, here: there is simply nothing like the Numark iDJ2 Mixing Console for any other MP3 player besides the iPod...which is precisely why it's a prime candidate for an accessory that may tempt you to switch. If you're a musically inclined individual that wants to have all the fun of turntables with less of the hassle and expense, the iDJ2 is worth a look. Sure, vinyl snobs may sneer, but workaday event DJs will appreciate the system's efficiency, keyboard search, sound quality, and portability.

5. Sonic Impact Video-55

Once again, just try to find a product like the Sonic Impact Video-55 for anything but the iPod. In fact, try to find one like it for the latest generation of iPods (just one of the infuriating things that Apple has done throughout the iPod family's lifespan: make video-out proprietary). But for the first video iPod, this screen-enhancing accessory is still a great add-on. Plus, now that it's a "legacy" product, the price has plummeted from $300 to a much more palatable $100. If you have an older video iPod, this is a great way to triple the viewing area.

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