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Kensington FX-300 Speaker-To-Go review: Kensington FX-300 Speaker-To-Go

MSRP: $29.99

The Good The Kensington FX300 is small, durable, lightweight, and inexpensive.

The Bad The FX300's sound quality is compromised due to its small size and the volume control is all too easy to accidentally bump.

The Bottom Line The FX300 packs a fair amount of punch in a very small space, but don't expect to be dazzled by the sound.

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5.7 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 5
  • Performance 6

At 4.5 inches wide and 6 inches tall, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more convenient portable speaker for your MP3 player. The FX300 is a rubber-coated, semihard clamshell case that zips shut and can easily store most iPod-size MP3 players with room to spare for earbuds or a USB cable. The outside of the case features an aluminum carabiner hook on one corner and a volume dial on its face. The volume dial also acts as a power switch, powering the unit off with an audible click when turned all the way to the left. The best part of the design is what you don't see--the speaker. By keeping the speaker hidden inside the FX300's body, there's little opportunity for it to get damaged.

The Kensington FX300 Speaker To Go couldn't be more streamlined for its purpose. There's no built-in radio, no USB dock, no form-fitting adapters--just plug your MP3 player into the stereo miniplug cable found inside the case and you're ready to go. The biggest design drawback is the FX300's exposed Power/Volume control. Given how rugged and roadworthy the rest of the design is, it's hard to imagine why Kensington placed this critical control on the exterior. Beyond the annoyance of volume spikes caused by brushing up against the control, the FX300 runs a danger of being accidentally turned on and having its batteries drained.

We compared the Kensington FX300 against the similarly sized Portable Sound Laboratories iMainGo system ($69). While the iMainGo sounded much better and louder, it also uses twice the power (four AAA batteries compared to the FX300's two AAA batteries) and will cost you around twice as much. Plus, the iMainGo is not nearly as resilient as the FX300 due to its exposed speakers.

The Kensington FX300 Speaker To Go suffers from a single but significant design flaw and its sound quality is reminiscent of elevator music. When we weigh these facts against its affordable price and convenient size, the FX300 is still a smart buy for those willing to sacrifice sound quality for convenience.

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