07 April 2009

LiveSpeakR Portable iPod/iPhone Speaker System (video)

Here’s a company you might not of heard of: LiveSpeakR. They produce one product: an iPod/iPhone compatible portable speaker system. Two grilled speakers flank the dock on either side and tucked neatly at the center is a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery and flip out stand. At first glance, the LiveSpeakR doesn’t warrant a double take but after plugging in my Gen 1 iPhone I can honestly say I’m a convert.

Don’t be misled by the LiveSpeakR’s tiny size, this thing can produce some serious sound. But before we get there let me tell you a bit about its feature set.

Front and center of the LiveSpeakR is an unusual docking system that smoothly accepts my iPhone into its clutches and works surprisingly well given its odd aesthetic. Rotating the dock 90 degrees into landscape mode resulted in the speakers automatically extending beyond the iPhones length allowing the speakers to continue to emit sound unobstructed. A little odd but smart as this allows the LiveSpeakR to be used in both orientations: landscape for movies or portrait mode for music. Instead of utilizing the standard ‘made for iPod’ 30-pin dock, LiveSpeakR opted for a simple headphone jack, which not only works with the Gen 1 iPhone and iPod Touch, but makes it compatible with other MP3 players on the market. The rechargeable Lithium battery placed squarely behind the dock, that not only centers the device’s weight but doubles as a stand thanks to the included flip out, height adjustable mount.

To charge the device I used the included A/C USB adapter that features an LED light that goes from red to green when charging is complete. Because of this, you can charge the LiveSpeakr via your PC or the wall, which ever you prefer, but charging via a USB means no indicator light since that is built-in to the wall adapter. LiveSpeakR specs the battery at a 16 hours and during my testing I achieved nothing shy of this. A small and some what recessed switch powers the device on and off, and a small green LED light indicates when it’s powered up. It’s pretty easy to leave the LiveSpeakR on when not in use due to the small size of the LED power light, but a some what moot point considering it can be charged up in just over 2 hours time.

So how does this bad boy sound? Well, as previously mentioned, I had my doubts when I removed it from the box. It’s size, shape and look doesn’t scream crystal clear sound let alone volume. Boy was I wrong. At max amplitude on my iPhone the LiveSpeakR produced absolutely no distortion and its body showed no signs of vibration. Its sound is bright, full and clear as the recession in sight. Setting my iPhone’s EQ to Latin resulted in the best sound regardless of the type of music being played. And thanks to the LiveSpeakR’s shielded speaker system I experienced ZERO GSM signal noise from my iPhone during playback, which will surely prove useful for Pandora fans.

My only gripe, or perhaps apprehension is how long the rotating dock system will last. One wrong spin or over turn could result in a breakage. Although I didn’t incur any problems with the spinning dock I figured it’s worth mentioning for those considering a purchase.

The LiveSpeakR is most certainly not a desktop replacement, although it sounds as good as some larger systems, but it’s a perfect bed side or beach trip companion. At $100 a pop you might have wallet apprehension, but I assure you this portable speaker of joy will have your grinning from ear to ear with amazement, because yes, good things do come in small packages.


* Great sound quality for the size
* Built-in rechargeable battery
* Headphone plug so works with any MP3 player
* Flip out stand


* Rotating dock seems a bit fragile
* Fiddly power switch
* Expensive

You can buy the LiveSpeakR here for $100.

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