I must admit I was excited to receive the just-announced pair of DLO Portable Speakers for iPhone, simply for one main reason. For some time, I had been looking for a good portable speaker system that could be used with iPods and iPhones, as well as other devices. I found a few that were ok on the iPod, but when it came to the iPhone, the TDMA noise frequently made listening a real pain.
What is TDMA noise? Simply described, it is the patterned buzzing or beeping tones that you hear when you put your iPhone next to an unshielded speaker. These magnetic tones happen when you are receiving data (the antenna is active) on your iPhone and are picked up by unshielded speakers. I was first introduced to this phenomenon when I had my Tmobile Sidekicks. I thought it was extremely annoying then and I think it is now as well. If you want a technical definition of TDMA, look here.
So, what did DLO do? They recognized this as a pretty big issue (this is why many of the iPod FM transmitters for your car always give you a compatibility warning on your iPhone when plugging them into your iPhone), and they created a shielded, portable speaker system. But they didn’t stop just there. They packaged the system up as a true, on-the-go, portable system. The speakers’ unique design allow for them to be packaged up in an elliptical ball, making it very portable and rugged.
Ok, so the top two pictures are from the DLO product page. But I did take a few pictures of what is contained in the box and how the device looks from a “real world” view.
The Portable Speakers come in a fairly large box. I was actually expecting the speakers themselves to be a bit bigger because of the packaging size.
Back-side of the box clearly explains what you are getting and the shows 3 important views: iPhone vertical view, iPhone horizontal view and with the speakers closed.
Contained within the package are:
- Left/Right speakers with a good length cord
- Center stand – contains on/off button, plugs for power and speakers, battery pack (takes 4 – AAA batteries)
- iPhone holder – allows you to place your iPhone on top of the center stand and have it horizontally or vertically
- Power Cord – for those days you don’t want to burn through batteries, just plug it in
- Headset adapter – for use with non-iPhones
- Instruction card – clean and simple
With the speakers closed.
Using the speakers is actually incredibly easy. The difference from other speakers (and probably the secret as to why there is no TDMA noise) is because the speakers use the headphone jack to connect and not the slot on the bottom of the iPhone. Also, interference is probably also prevented due to improved shielding. The other important thing to note about using a headphone jack is that these speakers can be used with ANY portable MP3/Audio/Video device. This makes this speaker set a true utilitarian device.
Playing some Bob Marley.
SUMMING IT ALL UP
The sound quality of music was fairly good for speakers of this size. Music sounded a bit treble-driven and a bit lacking in bass. Spoken word sounded fine. Volume could be raised fairly high without distortion. Packing the speakers back to the “egg” was easy to do, however I found it a bit difficult to truly hide all of the wires away (especially as nicely as in the DLO product photos).
These minor gripes aside, I have to say that this speaker set is definitely a bargain (MSRP $49.99). It can be used with other devices, but most importantly, it works fantastically with an iPhone with no radio noise disturbing your listening. While there may be other similar products on the market, there aren’t any that I know of that are this price point and portable. Also, the fact that the speaker set can be used with the phone itself as a glorified speaker phone, really adds even more value to the device.
- Price – hits the sweet spot for value and performance
- Portability will make this a winner with kids, teens and travelers
- Interference free – finally, no more radio noise
- Ability to use with other devices (3.5mm headphone jack compatibility)
- Sound was a bit tinny (expected for a low-power speaker)
- Cable management is a bit tricky (but still innovative)
HTD Says: This is a strong contender in the portable speaker arena, especially due to its attention grabbing design and affordable price. The DLO Portable Speakers for iPhone edges in with an B+/A-.