In the realm of adorable iPod speakers, Lanchiya Technology's Speakal line has to take the cake. You can find the accessory shaped as a ghost, a panda, even a flower pot. But perhaps even more endearing than all of these is the iPig 2.1 Stereo iPod Docking Station, which takes the form of--you guessed it--a portly piggy.
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Not everyone will be able to get past the cutesy design of this $130 audio accessory, but those who do will be rewarded with surprisingly good sound quality and an array of handy features.
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The key to innovative design is creating something that is both functional and interesting to the eye, and the iPig succeeds on both counts. True, not all users will be keen on the piggy shape, but it's undeniably cute. It comes in four colors: white, black, yellow, and pink.
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The four legs serve as a stand that keeps the entire unit lifted about a half-inch off the surface upon which it is placed. It turns out that this is necessary, as peering at the bottom of the iPig reveals one of many surprises: a 4-inch subwoofer.
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More than anything, the ears of the iPig encompass all that is adorable about this speaker system. They comprise touch-sensitive volume controls, so you literally stroke them to adjust levels.
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The Speakal also includes a remote control with an impressive array of buttons. You can use it to control volume, playback, and mode, as well as navigate through the menus on the iPod. There are also buttons for adjusting bass and treble--a nice touch, though having some visual indication of these levels would be handy.
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Your iPod gets inserted into a dock carved into the head of the pig. The package contains a number of dock adapters for the various iPods.
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The iPig also includes a bass knob on the back, next to the DC input, power switch, and auxiliary line-in port (provide your own stereo patch cable, and this speaker will work with any MP3 player).
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When it comes to performance, we've learned to take cutesy iPod speakers with a grain of salt; many of them put all their eggs in the design basket, thus leaving little investment for the audio aspect. Happily, the iPig does not fall into this trap. A combination of the placement of the speakers, the inclusion of a subwoofer, and the capability to tweak bass and treble settings give this speaker a leg up in sound quality.