On the whole, iPod and iPhone accessories have become too expensive — so expensive, in fact, that even Apple seems to recognize that there’s a problem, at least with certain types of add-ons, including add-on microphones. Two years ago, a new generation of stereo-only mics debuted at a crazy starting price of $50, with most options selling for $60 or more. Now, thanks to a change in both iPhones and 2008 iPods, you can find monaural mic-equipped earphones for as little as $29, and Inpicio has started to sell a dedicated microphone add-on called Lloyd for only $18.
With only a single exception, we have only positive things to say about Lloyd, which is sold in white or black rubber-coated versions, each designed solely to attach to the fourth-generation iPod nano. Once it’s plugged into the nano’s combination headphone/microphone port, it sits flush with the nano’s sides, adding a front-mounted microphone, then a side-mounted headphone pass-through port that properly lets you hear your nano’s audio through any pair of earphones. Though it’s otherwise dimensionally similar to the nano, Incipio has designed Lloyd with slight front and rear fingertip-sized depressions that make it easy to pull off.
Perhaps most important is the fact that Lloyd actually sounds great. As you can hear from the audio test we’ve provided here, Lloyd actually sounds clearer and more full-bodied at the same distance than the microphone on Apple’s own $79 In-Ear Headphones with Remote + Mic, which will likely be the same mic found on its upcoming, less expensive $29 Earphones with Remote + Mic, as well. A separate test, trying both microphones at a distance of two feet from our mouths rather than up close, yielded the same results: Apple’s microphone is treble-accentuated and suffers from some sibilance as it moves away, while Lloyd remains natural-sounding but still highly intelligible.
Our only minor issue with Lloyd is one that doesn’t merit much concern, or any penalty: making the purchase of an accessory specific to a single iPod rarely strikes us as a great idea, given how often Apple updates its devices and provides incentives to upgrade. However, Lloyd’s low price, combined with the fact that it actually does work—albeit off-angle—on 2008 iPod classic and touch models as well, makes it extremely easy to recommend to our readers. The only nano users who shouldn’t consider it are those looking for a corded microphone with the ability to work at a distance from the iPod itself; for now, only headsets such as Apple’s awkwardly provide this as an option.
If you’re looking to add an affordable, excellent monaural microphone to your fourth-generation iPod nano, Lloyd is virtually a no-brainer. With excellent audio quality for voice recordings, a small profile, and a very reasonable price, it’s as good of a microphone as we’ve seen in three years for any iPod. We consider it very highly recommendable, and Incipio deserves tremendous credit for offering such a straightforward, useful little accessory so quickly.
Company and Price
Company: Incipio Technologies
Compatible: iPod nano 4G