The Good Truly wireless speaker system with iPod dock; speakers utilize recharging lithium ion batteries for cable-free operation; RF wireless transmission for speakers and remote works through walls and over long distances; movable speakers enables excellent stereo separation; high-style design; line-in for external audio sources.
The Bad Speaker batteries aren't replaceable; speakers lack convincing bass, and sound quality deteriorates at higher volumes; video output only works for fifth-gen iPods; remote offers only basic controls, so you'll have to return to the base station to access the iPod; no AM/FM radio, clock, or alarm.
The Bottom Line The iPod-friendly Griffin Evolve is the first wireless speaker system that delivers a truly cable-free experience.
To date, "wireless speakers" has been one of the great misnomers in consumer electronics. That's because many so-called wireless speaker systems actually introduce more wires into the equation--usually because those "wireless" systems require extra transmitters and receivers, both of which require their own power cables. And that's exactly why the Griffin Evolve is something of a revolutionary product: the $300 iPod speaker system includes two speakers that are completely free of cables. Despite a handful of drawbacks, most listeners looking for a semi-transportable audio system may well find the Evolve to be an ideal solution.
Even without the wireless speakers, the Evolve would be one of the more striking-looking iPod speaker systems. The base pedestal offers a brushed metal face that surrounds and supports the 16-inch-wide black plastic slab. The center third of the base has a standard iPod dock and the basic volume and power controls, while the two speakers sit on either end. Unlike nearly all other iPod audio systems to date, however, each of those stereo speakers can be popped off and moved several rooms away--while still playing.
The speakers are identical--each one is a 5.5-inch cube with a rubberized back and indented handle. The speakers simply sit on the base station while charging--there's a grooved cradle that takes a bit of jiggling to fit, but no elaborate lockdown mechanism that would be destined to snap or break. They'll need about four hours for the internal lithium ion battery to get fully juiced up, but they'll work just fine while recharging. One thing that's very cool is that either speaker will automatically "become" the right or left channel depending on which side of the charger it's placed--and an LED indicator behind the speaker grille indicates left/right channel and charging status as well. Also, the speakers are magnetically shielded, so they shouldn't wreak havoc with old-fashioned CRT TVs or monitors.
Wireless home theater speakers always have wires
It's an appealing fantasy: Wireless speakers. Just plop speakers anywhere you want and they magically receive signals and power.