Speaker To Go
Entitled Speaker To Go, the Kensington FX500 provides additional audio output capabilities to your MP3 player. Although it does come with a claim, clearly mentioned on the packaging, that the product has been designed for all MP3 players, it is obvious that the iPod has had a major influence on the design concept but more on this a little later.
Designed as a compact case, measuring 217 x 171 x 33mm (W x H x D), this product is constructed predominately of a re-enforced plastic substance. While there is no carry handle as such, you could use the metal built-in adjustable stand that forms part of the product for this purpose. The unit's front is home to an on/off switch and a cut-out panel protected by a transparent pane that is flexible enough to access any front-mounted controls on the MP3 player. A zip runs around most of the case enabling it to be fully opened for inserting the MP3 player.
When you unzip the case you gain access to the main cut-away section. This area measures 67 x 117 x 16mm (W x H x D) and has two Velcro straps to help hold the MP3 player in position. In some cases, especially if you favour a PMP (Personal Media Player) style of device such as those available from Archos and other manufacturers, then it is probably they will not fit. Depth should not be too much of an issue as the case can expand a little to compensate. However there is nothing that can be done with regards to any extra width and height due to the rigid format and position of the dual speaker system.
iPod users, on the other hand, are more fortunate in this respect. Such devices will fit with room to space. In fact Kensington are using a dummy mock-up of an iPod device as part of the packaging encasing this product giving further weight to the belief that the iPod user is the prime sales target..
The MP3 player connects to the unit's speaker system via a permanently attached lead that sports a standard 1.5cm jack plug. This fits into the headphone socket on the MP3 player. Power is provided by three AAA batteries which are supplied with the unit and should give up to 10 hours of usage. The on/off switch on the front of the device allows you to turn off the batteries but has no affect on the MP3 player. A low battery indicator will glow to advise when the batteries need replacing.
Depending upon the design of your MP3, you will probably need to switch it on before closing the case. As mentioned earlier, the flexible transparent window on the front of the case should allow access to any front-mounted controls of the player so that you can switch between tracks and adjust the volume level. It should be pointed out that this volume level adjustment concerns the player as the Kensington device does not have its own volume level adjustment capability. Using the built-in stand, you can position the unit upright or maybe hang it from an appropriate shelf.
The "Speaker To Go" unit is certainly compact and takes up little space. It is sturdy enough to handle wear and tear caused by general travel use. While many MP3 devices will fit into the internal compartment, you should check measurements before considering this kit. Kensington has priced the "Speaker To Go" at £34.99 although it is available for significantly less.
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