Around $200; Buy from Amazon.com
You wouldn’t think it by looking at this small radio with a built-in speaker, but it’s got a huge sound. The Tivoli Audio iPAL, or Portable Audio Laboratory, surprises by the richness and full range of its output. Designed initially as a radio, it comes with a mini-din jack so you can plug in an iPod or other portable music player, and it pumps out sound that’ll make you think twice. For the iPAL has only one speaker. But this speaker is so good that you won’t notice the difference. After all, if you have two speakers and they’re too close together, you won’t really hear the stereo separation. So Tivoli Audio decided to go for a single speaker with high-quality sound and amplification.
But it gets better. The iPAL is rechargeable, weather-resistant, and its case is rubberized. While you can use it on your deck or near a pool, I’d hesitate about using it in the rainâ€”I’d hesitate even more about having my iPod out in the rain. But you won’t have to worry about the occasional splash or those first drops of rain at a picnic.
The iPAL shines in its powerful, rich bass, an area where most small speakers suffer. Unlike a boom-box with artificial bass enhancement, the iPAL’s bass is realistic and even, without the common booming that you hear in cheaper units. For many uses, whether at home, in the office or outdoors, the PAL is a great way to listen to your music. It’s got a built-in AM/FM radio, with a very accurate tuner, so when you’re tired of listening to music, or want to catch that Yankee game, you can do so.
Another way to use the iPal is as an external speaker when listening to audiobooks. A lot of people who are fans of digital audiobooks use iPods or other devices to listen on the move, but want some sort of external speaker for listening at home, on their deck, or in the park. With the iPal being slightly bass-heavy, it actually works perfectly for voice recordings, and, while a bit expensive, may be the perfect speaker for audiobooks.