Portable Sound Labs has a cool new product called the iMainGo XP (model: 11BWB04), which is a portable stereo speaker for the iPad but also doubles as a protective case. I wrote about them earlier this month and asked for a review unit to check out, which they promptly sent to me. Here's a photo of the iMainGo XP sitting on a stand on my desk:
As I mentioned in my previous article, "I'd be curious how this product sounds with VoIP applications, such as Skype. With the iPad's decent hardware echo cancellation and many VoIP softphone clients sporting software-based echo cancellation, it might be nice to have beefy speakers with lots of bass and HD audio support to carry the full tonal quality of the remote speaker."
Unfortunately, once you connect the headset jack into the iMainGo XP, the iPad's built-in microphone is disabled and the iMainGoXP doesn't have an embedded microphone. Of course, VoIP isn't the intended use of this product, so I can't complain.
Update: It DOES work with Skype or any other iPad 2 VoIP app!
I tested this with an iPad 1 (no mic), but I just assumed that any headset plugged into an iPad 2 would automatically disable the mic so that the external headset or speaker device would be responsible for mic input. I did not realize some items plugged into headset jack can take control of the mic while others let the iPad 2's mic be utilized.
My thanks to Leonie Darcel, VP of Sales for Portable Sound Labs for pointing our my error. His email to me stated:
I have had a lot of success using the XP for skyping and find having the iPad in the XP actually works a lot better than just using the iPad alone. The iPad’s mic area is still very accessible while in the XP and the fact that the XP amplifies the sound makes the whole communication experience a lot more satisfactory. The stand it comes with is great for using for Skype too, sets everything up at a good angle and I love not needing a headset/ mic which I do with my PC so it really has transformed my Skyping experience.
Here's my video review followed by video highlights in case you want to read a synopsis of the video review:
- Supports iPad and iPad 2
- AC adapter has nice green label – no mixing it up with other AC adapters.
- Two locking slider switches
- Resistance of the speakers’ hinges lets you position the speakers at the angle you want. If you fully open them the iPad cannot free stand and it’ll fall over. However, the slightest angle curve of the hinged speakers enabled the iPad to be free-standing.
- Includes a stand, which has several angled locking positions that click into place as you apply pressure to the back hinge.
- The volume control is handled by the iPad’s own volume control.
- Setting the volume to max on the iPad I didn’t hear any discernable distortion on the speakers.
- Although the speakers are battery powered, you can leave it plugged into an AC adapter for prolonged usage, though you obviously lose the portability advantage.
- Nice bass, so it makes for a great "Netflix on iPad" experience and rich music experience.
- The case itself was very durable and I liked the black finish.
- Use case scenarios: (Please note that in the video I say PC instead of TV, but I meant TV)
Every house has 2-3 TVs, but not every TV can play Web content such as YouTube or Netflix. Using your iPad to play Internet content is certainly one use-case scenario. I wouldn’t watch a Netflix action flick with lots of explosions using the iPads tiny tinny speakers, but I would definitely consider it with the nice bass sound of this product. Another use-case scenario is as your home stereo. As more users migrate to iTunes to download music to their iPads and iPhones, playing back this music content to a high quality set of speakers is a nice feature to have. Plus it’s portable, so you can have a high-quality music experience wherever you go.
I like this product a lot. It works as advertised and the speakers are high quality with a good bass kick to them. iPad users looking for high quality speakers to compliment to iPad's small speakers should certainly consider the iMainGo XP portable speakers. The list price on Amazon is $108.48.
The product is also available at Best Buy and you should check out their Facebook page where they publish promos. Also, I'm told they currently have a 20% off your entire purchase promo if you buy via www.portablesoundlabs.com using promo code 'HH202011' at checkout.