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JBL has been in the audio business for a very long time--since the 1940's, in fact--and all that experience really shines through in the JBL Radial speakers for iPod. The company eschews the traditional iPod "brick" speaker, but the unusual spacey design of the Radial does nothing to hinder the sound coming from the iPod. In fact, we think it improves the digital sound overall. It's expensive at $299.95, but your ears will thank you.
The design of the JBL Radial appears to be modeled after the On Time, which was released at CES this year. The iPod--any dock-connecting iPod will do--sits center-stage under the arc of a speaker creating a futuristic circle. The 10.5-by-12-inch (height by width) "iPod stage" certainly draws attention to itself as well as to the iPod.
The Stargate-esque design won't appeal to everyone, but it's not entirely unattractive. Volume buttons rest on the front edge of the iPod stage and are the only controls located on the unit itself. An included RF remote--in a stylish angular design--comprises the rest of the controls. There are only six buttons, but four of them serve different purposes depending on the mode you select. The volume controls alternately serve as Menu and Enter, while fast-forward/rewind can also scroll through menu options. The mode and play/pause keys are static.
If you turn the 2.5-pound Radial around, you'll find the master power button as well as a variety of ports: auxiliary line-in, S-Video, USB (for computer syncing), and DC-in. JBL includes a power adapter cable and brick, a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable, and a compatible USB cable. Alas, this thing does not run on batteries.