Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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Shady Beats

Product Number: 205

Synergy is a great word. It implies the bringing together of various elements in order to create something better, and ultimately more convenient. Take iFlops, the iPod charger in a teddy, which eradicated the need to worry about hugging both an iPod and a cuddly toy before going to bed. Also hoping to prove one product is better than two is Shady Beats, a sunglasses case with integrated speaker.

Whilst not the most natural of combos, Shady Beats is designed to offer everything you need when you head down to the beach. With a padded space for your shades, a zip up pocket for your cards and cash, and a speaker for your music player it’s a neat device. Frustratingly there’s nowhere to store your actual music player (unless you shove it in the pouch for cash but annoyingly that can’t be zipped up all the way due to a very short headphone jack) this means you might still have to carry your pride and joy in a pocket, or place in loose inside the pouch. Either way it kind of defeats the point a little.

In terms of your shades there’s plenty of room inside for even the most bizarre of styles, and mine fitted in fine. Given that I’ve lost / broken more than my fair share of shades over the years I actually found it a handy device. Sure you might prefer to wear your shades on your head, so it’s a good job Shady Beats also doubles up as a rather handy portable music player.

With no internal volume controls of its own you’re left to rely on the output of your music device, which is fine for iPods if you ramp them up to the highest volume, but may not work well for quieter devices. Despite lacking volume controls Shady Beats requires batteries, which is a shame given that iFlops managed to produce a decent sound without them, and if you’re heading to the beach the last thing you want to take is a spare pack of batteries.

In terms of music we tried out everything from George Michael to Fall Out Boy to Hardcore Club XL 2 and they all produced satisfactory results. All of the songs from loud to quiet, rock to pop did have a slight gravelled edge to them, perhaps due to the casing surrounding the speakers. You can combat this a little by playing the device with the lid open, but you’ll lose some volume along the way so it’s really a trade off between the two.

Shady Beats isn’t without its flaws, and there are definitely some tweaks that could be made in future versions. If you take it purely as a set of speakers and a slot for your sunglasses then it does the job well, it’s just a shame you have to lug around spare batteries and your iPod someone separate.

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