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Eco-amp (O.G. 2.0) review: The fun but flimsy phonograph for your iPhone

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MSRP: $10.00

The Good The environmentally friendly Eco-made Eco-amp has a novel design and is easy to assemble.

The Bad The Eco-amp is fragile, and while it does noticeably amplify sound, don't expect a huge difference.

The Bottom Line Though it has a great design and comes in a bunch of fun colors, feel free to skip the Eco-amp if you want big sound and something durable.

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6.5 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Performance 6

Whether you're in the back seat of a car trying to watch a YouTube video, or on your bed streaming the radio, it's safe to say we could all use some help pumping up our audio at one time or another. You know, something quick that's short of actually docking your handset into a speaker.

That's where the Eco-amp comes in. Designed and manufactured in Los Angeles by Eco-made, the Eco-amp, using the company's O.G. 2.0 pattern, is a small audio amplifier for the iPhone 4/4S and costs about $10 for a pack of two. While it's not meant to be the most technologically advanced mobile speaker available, it'll definitely attract attention with its interesting design.

Admittedly, the Eco-amp's minimalist but quirky design is what drew my attention. According to Eco-made, it's entirely made from "post-consumer recycled fibers." For the most part though, it's paper.

Eco-amp iPhone speaker amplifier
The Eco-amp comes in 24 different colorful patterns. James Martin/CNET

The Eco-amp ships completely flat, and it looks like a mushroom with a long stem. A graphic pattern covers both sides, with tabs and small instructional text labeled in corresponding places.

When fully assembled, the Eco-amp will end up looking like a cardboard phonograph (or should I say, iPhonograph, har har!) for your handset. There is a hole for your left bottom speaker, and the amplifier goes over your right speaker. A larger circular hole is left on top so you can still access your iPhone's home button.

The Eco-amp comes with prefolds, so you won't have to create the initial creases. Though there are small instructions on the Eco-amp itself (like "fold over to align the squares," "tab A," and "fold up to align arrows"), putting it together using just these instructions wasn't very intuitive.

As a personal experiment, I tried putting it together based solely on the arrows and folds of the Eco-amp and ended up assembling it inside out. The instructions on the package were much more helpful, and in general, it takes about a minute to put together.

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