Portable speakers for the iPod are nothing new; they've probably been around almost as long as the iPod itself. It follows then, that the debut of the Apple iPhone has also set off a number of portable speakers from numerous third-party manufacturers vying for a piece of the iPhone accessory market. One of them is Digital Lifestyle Outfitter's aptly named Portable Speakers for the iPhone. A truly portable device that can be disassembled and reassembled in a matter of seconds, these DLO speakers can even be used as a portable entertainment system for watching movies on your iPhone. We did find the lack of charging dock and volume controls a bit inconvenient, but that's not a big deal for such great-sounding speakers. That said, though, it doesn't make a very good speaker phone. The DLO Portable Speakers for iPhone is quite affordable at only $49.99.
The DLO Portable Speakers for the iPhone is unlike any other portable speaker we've ever seen. It consists of two speaker cups that can be attached to a rubberized circular base to form a football-like shape. In this ball-like shape, the device measures about 5 inches wide by 4 inches long, and is small enough to fit into a normal messenger bag. To reassemble it, just pop out the two speakers, and connect the two speaker cables to the base. A 3.5mm headphone cable can then be connected from the base to any MP3 player with a 3.5mm headphone jack, including the iPhone. When fully assembled, the cables tend to clutter and tangle a bit at the back, but it doesn't look too unsightly. The base is powered either via an electrical outlet or four AAA batteries. When laid flat, the base is about 2 inches tall. A simple toggle switch on the base powers the speakers on and off.
You can use the speakers with almost any MP3 player, but the DLO Portable Speakers is made with the iPhone in mind. Included with the speaker is a plastic iPhone holder that can be snapped neatly into the rubber base. You can then choose to either prop the iPhone up vertically or horizontally--horizontal would be good if you want to watch a movie. There's no charging dock, so you have to make sure your iPhone has a decent battery charge before using the speakers. Also there isn't any remote or volume controls on the speaker itself, meaning you'll still have to control everything with the iPhone.
The sound quality on the DLO Portable Speakers does not disappoint. One of the highlights of the DLO Portable Speakers for the iPhone is that it promises and delivers interference-free audio. This means that the speakers are shielded from the iPhone's cellular radio interference, resulting in clean static-free sound. The speakers are fairly powerful for their size; there's a decent bass effect probably because of the bass vents in the back of the speakers, and the audio is nice and loud.
Our only problem with it is that it doesn't do great as a speaker phone. Sure, you can hear your callers just fine, but your callers will hear themselves speaking in a slightly delayed response when the iPhone's mic picks up the sound from the speakers.
The DLO Portable Speakers for the iPhone is one of the first portable speakers for the iPhone, and it's a winner in many ways. It has amazing sound quality, and we loved that it can be easily transformed into a cute and compact football-like shape for portability. There's a bit of assembly involved, but it only takes a few seconds. We were disappointed with the lack of a charging dock as well as the poor speaker phone performance, but the excellent audio quality in such a small package won us over in the end.