Editors' Note: The rating on this review has been lowered from 4.3 to 4.0 due to changes in the competitive marketplace.
In the saturated market of iPod accessories, it takes something special to stand out from the herd: a striking design, cool and unique features, excellent performance. You get the idea. Unfortunately, Radian Technologies' iBlast offers none of these. Other than its low $55 street price, there's nothing outstanding about the iBlast that would put it on your Want It list.
Measuring 9 by 4.5 by 3.5 inches, the iBlast is certainly no beast and could be considered portable except for one detail: there's no battery option. That, and the fact that there's no case included, making it difficult to transport. Also, the speaker set doesn't include a remote, and the only controls on it are two touch-sensitive volume keys. All other functions are controlled via the iPod itself. As such, the iBlast is best suited to a desk or perhaps a bedside table--someplace that will be within easy reach.
Along with the speakers, Radian includes three iPod dock adapters--for the Mini, the Nano, and the larger iPods--and one additional piece that protects the connector if you opt to use the auxiliary line input. Unfortunately, you'll have to provide your own cable to use this function. The only other items in the package are the power adapter and a USB cable for syncing the iPod without removing it from the speaker dock.
The iBlast offers OK sound quality. Music sounded clear and bright coming from our resident Nano, but it was also lacking in warmth and depth, and we noticed an audible background hiss during several songs. Bass response is certainly lacking, but then you can't really expect a booming low-end from a $55 plastic-cased speaker set. The system does get plenty loud, though.