Review: Logic3 i-Station Traveller Universal Active Stereo Speakers | iLounge

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A-Highly Recommended

Company: Logic3

Website: www.Logic3.com

Model: i-Station Traveller

Price: $35

Compatible: All iPods

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Logic3 i-Station Traveller Universal Active Stereo Speakers

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge ()
Published: Monday, February 19, 2007
Category: Portable

Pros: A highly packable, budget-priced, battery-powered speaker system compatible with all past and present iPod models thanks to a unique folding and expanding design. Very good sound for the price, includes metal grille guards and a simple carrying sleeve for safety during travel.

Cons: Doesn’t include AC adapter like chief rival, which sells for an even lower price; sound is treble- and mid-optimized with less bass than same rival.

Few companies have chased the bargain portable audio market with the energy of Logic3, maker of the popular i-Station series of travel speakers. The company’s latest design i-Station Traveller ($35) is its lowest-cost iPod-ready audio system yet, powered by twin 32mm audio drivers and packaged with four AAA batteries and a black slip case for travel protection. Price aside, it’s also the company’s most cosmetically appealing speaker to date, sold in red, green, blue, pink, silver, and black bodies that come pretty close to the colors of Apple’s current array of second-generation iPod nanos.

Packability and compatibility are keys to Traveller’s design. The system’s two ported, metal grilled speakers are each in their own enclosures, connected to a flip-open battery pack base with expanding arms. These arms allow the speakers to expand or contract to a 3.25” by 5” by 3.25” size, enough to accommodate literally any iPod model, while providing side, bottom and back support. When the speakers aren’t in use, the system folds flat to a roughly 1” thick size that’s easily stored in any bag you might be carrying.

Since this i-Station uses a headphone port plug rather than a Dock Connector, full-sized iPods of any generation, plus nanos, minis, and both new and old shuffles can fit inside. And they all work properly: though you’ll need to adjust their own volume levels, Traveller doesn’t include a second volume knob to add to your confusion. Having seen hundreds of iPod-ready speakers at this point, we need to point out that despite the seeming simplicity of Logic3’s iPod-accommodating system, this wasn’t an easy design - it’s actually really quite smart and efficient.

Since this i-Station uses a headphone port plug rather than a Dock Connector, full-sized iPods of any generation, plus nanos, minis, and both new and old shuffles can fit inside. And they all work properly: though you’ll need to adjust their own volume levels, Traveller doesn’t include a second volume knob to add to your confusion. Having seen hundreds of iPod-ready speakers at this point, we need to point out that despite the seeming simplicity of Logic3’s iPod-accommodating system, this wasn’t an easy design - it’s actually really quite smart and efficient.

As between the Cube Travel Speakers and i-Station Traveller, the comparison’s a bit tougher. On one hand, we generally preferred i-Station’s sound: Logic3’s drivers deliver superior clarity, noticeably better highs and mid-treble, and even greater volume. They do distort at their peak volume, but are a bit louder than Cube even below that. We also felt that Traveller did a better job of accommodating all iPods - Cube’s tray-based system works, but isn’t as well-matched to shuffles or newer nanos as the unique Logic3 design - and preferred its metal-shielded speaker drivers to Cube’s exposed ones.

That said, Cube still has significant advantages. Though neither system is an audio powerhouse, it does better in the bass department than i-Station, with a slightly warmer overall signature attributable to its larger 50mm drivers. It’s also roughly as portable as Traveller, retails for only $20, and even includes its own AC power adapter, a feature that Traveller leaves as optional. Consequently, you’ll almost certainly spend less on batteries with Cube than with Traveller, even though they both run off of four AAA cells on the go.

Overall, we were generally very impressed by i-Station Traveller: its size, colorful, iPod-matching looks, very good sound for the price, and multi-iPod compatibility make it a really strong choice for budget-conscious users. If there had been a power adapter in the box, and/or a bit more bass, it would have been a decisive equal or superior in value to the outrageously affordable Cube, but we very much appreciated it for what it is. Should Logic3 release an orange version, expect this to be an even more popular accessory for new iPod shuffle owners - including iLounge editors - in the future.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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