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Kensington SX-2000 review: Kensington SX-2000

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The Good The Kensington SX 2000 speakers for the iPod are attractively designed and charge the iPod while it's docked. They work with all dock-connecting iPods.

The Bad Unfortunately, the Kensington SX 2000 speakers for the iPod suffer from poor sound clarity and don't include a remote. Also, they don't have a pass-through for connecting them directly to a computer for iPod syncing.

The Bottom Line The Kensington SX 2000 speakers for the iPod are eye-catching, but you can find better options for sharing your iPod's tunes.

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5.7 Overall

Kensington SX 2000 speakers for iPod

Speaker systems for the Apple iPod come in a range of impressive designs, as many companies rise to the challenge of creating speakers as stylish as the iPod itself. Continuing a path blazed by Altec Lansing, JBL, and Logitech (among others), Kensington comes forward with its SX 2000 speakers for the iPod ($159.99). The unit features a large, flat speaker developed by NXT and is sure to be a conversation piece wherever it's placed.

The Kensington SX 2000 measures 16.2 inches wide, 7.2 inches high, and 3.9 inches deep, which makes it fairly large for an iPod speaker. The Altec Lansing iM7 and the JBL On Stage, for example, have much smaller footprints. The SX 2000 comes in glossy iPod white (sorry, there's no black version for new black iPods), and the controls are limited to three simple buttons: power, as well as volume up and down. The rear offers an auxiliary port for connecting iPod Shuffles or other players that lack a dock connector.

Despite its visual appeal, the Kensington SX 2000 falls short of the competition in many ways, the chief being audio reproduction. While it has an acceptable tonal range--it's a little light in upper-register treble and is better suited to big bass sounds--we found its audio unpleasantly muffled and not nearly as clear as it should have been. Songs simply didn't have the clarity and the distinctness we expected.

Kensington advertises that the speaker offers "broad sound dispersion," meaning that sound projects from both the front and the rear. It's true, but that doesn't seem like much of a selling point--who puts a speaker in the center of a room? Plus, the audio quality from the rear is slightly less clear than from the front.

Unlike the Logitech mm50 or speakers in the Altec Lansing inMotion line, the Kensington SX 2000 doesn't come with a remote--a huge minus, in our opinion. Also, while it will charge an iPod, it can't connect to your computer and function as a docking station for syncing.

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