It takes a lot of effort to make a mark on the oversaturated iPod speaker market, and XtremeMac just isn't hitting it with the Tango X2. Don't get us wrong--this $150 shelf unit isn't bad, but it doesn't really have anything to distinguish it from competitors, and it's not really an improvement over its predecessor, the Tango. On the plus side, the design is clean and understated, the unit includes useful extras such as a built-in radio, and audio quality is passable in general.
Despite the Tango X2's rounded top edges, the speaker strikes us as boxy, perhaps because it is roughly the size and shape of a sneaker shoe box. The unit measures 4.2 by 11.7 by 7.5 inches, which is about average for an iPod shelf speaker. This particular speaker is best suited to the living room or kitchen, as it has no alarm clock and is too large for the average nightstand. The overall look of the speaker is fairly understated; everything--including the grille covering the entire face of the unit--is flat black. A little bit of pop is added by the chrome trim surrounding the grille and the centrally placed volume knob. Above the knob is a single-line LCD that glows blue from behind the grille, displaying the Tango X2's current mode.
The Tango X2 offers four modes, which represent the main features you can expect from the unit. Naturally, there is an iPod mode, wherein the speaker plays from a docked iPod. The dock is built into the top of the unit and is bordered on its front edge by six buttons, three of which can be used for playing and pausing music and shuttling through tracks. The other three keys, which are concave for distinction, are numbered one to three for use as presets in the FM and AM radio modes. Two separate antennae are included to ensure good reception, but neither tuner offers autoscan. That, combined with the limitation to three presets, rather diminishes the overall usefulness of the radios, although it's nice that they were included at all. One thing to keep in mind is that while the Tango X2 normally charges a docked iPod, this is not the case when the radio is in use (in order to "ensure quality radio reception").