iGo Boomtube portable speakers
Less ghetto-blaster, more garden-groover
When not in use, the two satellite speakers clip cleverly on each end of the bass tube, which not only protects the speakers, but also makes for a neat design. Unfortunately this is ruined completely because you need to carry the cables to hook up the satellite speakers separately, which detracts from the initially smart design.
The tube is 70mm in diameter and when it's all clipped together stretches to 327mm long and weighs 1.5kg. The company has also thrown in a carry case so you can cart the whole lot around on your travels.
For a portable speaker system, the sound quality is quite good. Listening to bass heavy tracks such as Shot You Down by the Audio Bullys from an iPod at full volume resulted in slight distortion, but turn the volume down a notch and the results are decent.
The system is rated at 40W total output, so while it's not going to fill the Albert Hall it should be able to cope in an average-sized lounge.
On the top of the unit there's a volume control that goes up to 11 (Spinal Tap style) and a bass control. In the middle is the power switch that you need to press and hold to turn the unit on - a useful touch that prevents it accidentally switching on while you're carrying it around and wasting the battery. The light around the power switch also lets you know how much battery you've got left, changing from green to red, via orange as the battery runs down.
If you want to occasionally release you music from the confines of headphones while you're out and about this set will do the job. It's a clever design, apart from the cables, and the audio output decent enough at a reasonable volume. It's a bit on the pricey side though.