The Good Creative sci-fi design with cool LED lights; small footprint; can run on batteries; includes an FM tuner; includes subwoofer (with decent bass at higher volumes); recharges iPod; USB pass-through for iTunes transfers.
The Bad No remote control included; cannot adjust viewing angle of iPod; difficult to adjust volume; no visual indicators for volume, bass, and FM; only one FM preset.
The Bottom Line If you're into its retro sci-fi looks, the FM-enabled Rain Design iWoofer speaker system makes a useful desktop companion for your iPod.
Rain Design iWoofer
Winner for best iPod speaker system that reminds us of an alien: Rain Design's iWoofer. This cute battery- and AC-powered speaker unit includes an FM radio and a built-in subwoofer, and it sounds decent for personal and desktop use. But the $129 iWoofer's intrigue lies with its sci-fi-inspired looks, which will no doubt be noticed on your desk as it has been by other CNET editors on mine.
The iWoofer is mostly spherical (think Magic 8-Ball for the black version), with four metallic legs, and two "eyes" that serve as the right and left speaker channels. Add a "mouth" (the subwoofer air vent) and a telescoping FM antenna to the top, and you have an undeniably robotic-looking creature. Located within the iWoofer's underbelly is a 2.5-inch subwoofer, which pumps out 6 watts. Adding to the iWoofer's overall appeal are four blue LEDs (the halo lamp) that surround the subwoofer and light up the surface below the speaker (definitely more effective in darker environs).
Available in white or the newer black model, the iWoofer has a built-in dock designed for 5G iPods. (Nano owners should check out the similar iWoofer Nano.) Bundled with the speaker are holders for three sizes of iPod (30GB, 60GB, and the iPod Shuffle), which plug into the antenna base. This places your iPod front and center right above the speakers. This is an ideal method for watching videos, though the iPod's viewing angle is not quite square and can't be adjusted. The dock recharges the iPod (only on AC), and a USB pass-through allows for syncing with iTunes. In addition, a mini line input allows you to connect other audio devices. Note: The Shuffle works via line in and cannot be controlled using the iWoofer.