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**What is it?**
The Creative Travelsound i85 is a 'nano speaker' in that it's for use with the 4th generation iPod Nano and Nano Video. It's also nano in that it's tiny - for use hand-held and for travel. It's produced under the Creative brand, which is well known for mid range, quality computer and digital audio equipment.
**Price and Availability**
The Creative Travelsound i85 is available on the high street from John Lewis and many independent computer and audio stores, and online at the same. It's also available on Amazon.co.uk and eBay.co.uk.
The Creative Travelsound i85 has an RRP of £39.99 however it can be found online for as little as £32.99 with free delivery so my advice would be to shop around.
**What's in the Box**
In the box you get the following:
- Creative TravelSound i85 speaker
- USB cable (for charging the unit, and it also allows you to sync your iPod with iTunes at the same time)
- Speaker stand
- Quick Start Guide
- A Warranty and Technical Support pamphlet
The Creative TravelSound i85 is very easy to set up - your iPod simply sits in it like a dock and sits around it in a very unobtrusive and pretty good looking way (the unit is white, so it looks great with black and white iPods in particular).
You can plug the USB cable into the Travelsound and plug it into your laptop or desktop computer, this allows you to sync your iPod with iTunes and charge the unit at the same time. Alternatively you can plug the USB cable into a USB plug socket and charge it via this method, which is quicker.
Once fully charged the Creative TravelSound i85 will provide 15 hours of use, which for a unit this small is impressive.
Used as a straight iPod speaker the Creative TravelSound i85 gives excellent quality sound (though this of course depends on the quality of the mp3 you are playing) and can be held in the hand, which it fits in nicely, or it can be stood up on the small plastic stand provided.
An added bonus of choosing this speaker is the addition of a built in FM radio receiver which is controlled via the radio functions on the iPod. Providing you have a resonable reception this works well and means you can listen to sporting events and news via your iPod which is great. If you use the Creative TravelSound i85 with an iPod video, you can play the video audio via the speaker and watch videos hands-free and on speaker.
Once your iPod Nano is docked into the Creative TravelSound i85, it's a pretty sturdy fit. There is a hanging loop attached to the dock speaker, but I can't say I'd recommend wearing it with an iPod attached on a lanyard around your neck!
The whole unit looks sleek and modern, it's very very easy to use and the sound quality is excellent. I would say that the cost is probably more than a child or teenager may wish to spend, though it would make an excellent gift and suit anyone who travels a lot, is looking for a small home speaker for their iPod, or for a student. For the money, I do believe you get a superior quality speaker and I am glad that I got mine a few Christmases ago because it has been used a lot and it has stood up to travel, moving house and being used in the kitchen.
If you are looking for a decent quality compact speaker for your iPod Nano or Nano Video I highly recommend the Creative TravelSound i85. It is well made and built to last, complements the Nano very well and provides excellent sound quality. With the added feature of a built in FM radio, I believe that it is well worth the money, even though cheaper basic speakers are available. None match the Creative TravelSound i85 for looks, ease of use and quality, however, and for that reason I'll be awarding the Creative TravelSound i85 a 4 star out of 5 rating.
I like the color of white especially the color among white and silver.The sound of such similar speakers is very natural and original.I used to buy on Sinoprice.com and it proved to be a fantastic place to go.The price is competitive and the quality is guaranted with a long time use.Above all, all products are free shipping. I got it very quickly just about 4days.the speaker is very easy to use.
If you have a new generation iPod nano then you really need to get your hands on one of these speakers, especially if you are out and about a lot or like to travel around.
Considering the size if this speaker you would be forgiven for assuming that the sound quality is terribly quiet and low quality, however you couldn't be more wrong. The sound is amazingly clear and very loud too, within reason.
As for the product's appearance it is very, very small and barely thicker than the actual nano, just slotting onto the bottom and hardly being noticeable at all. there is no reason that you couldn't carry this around in your pocket or bag it really is that small!
There isn't much more to say about this apart from how amazing the sound quality is when you consider the tiny size of the gadget, for this reason alone I advise that you grab one of these for use on the go or when on holiday.
Overall the price is pretty good, I consider it to be reasonable when you consider the amount of sound that you get from the device and the high portability, also it doesn't have a high price just for being an iPod compatible product, which seems more and more common now-a-days.
This nifty little speaker would probably have passed me by, had it not been on special offer at the time I bought my iPod nano last year. Normally selling for around £50, Argos were offering it for half price when purchased with an iPod nano, and while I was initially reluctant to shell out £25 on top of the price of the iPod itself, a nano-owning friend of mine persuaded me that it was a good deal, and would prove invaluable in the future.
The Creative Travelsound i85 is designed for use with the iPod nano 4th generation (the tiny, super slim one) and is barely bigger than the diminuitive iPod itself. At just 12cm tall, 5cm wide and 1.5cm thick, you can see how it got its name- it's portable in the extreme, and can easily fit into your pocket or handbag. It's also very light, so perfect for carrying around with you. One of the main attractions of the iPod nano is its portability and compactness, so having a speaker that's likewise compact is a big bonus. I have to admit, its size made me question its abilities at first- could a speaker that small possibly provide a half decent sound level? Well, more on that later!
Appearance wise, there's nothing particularly special about this speaker. It's plain white, with a silver speaker grill (you know the one I mean!) making up the entire back of it. The front of the speaker is basically a perfect, nano shaped indentation, with a small ledge near the bottom on which are the two plugs that match the holes in the nano's base. The nano slots neatly into the ledge, and, once on, takes up virtually the whole front of the speaker- there really is no wasted space here. The plugs also ensure that the the nano fits securely onto the speaker, and is in no danger of falling off. In fact, its fit is so snug, that it's sometimes slightly difficult to part iPod and speaker. The nano is so perfectly one with the speaker that it's virtually impossible to get a grip on its skinny sides to tug it out. The only way I've found to remove it is by inserting a fingernail into either side of the tiny gap between the base of the iPod and the ledge onto which it slots and pulling it upwards. This is the one drawback to the compactness of the model, but compared with the many benefits its size provides, it's fairly insignificant!
The speaker can stand comfortably on a level surface, and despite its slimness, is pretty stable. For extra stability, a small, white plastic base with four rubber feet is also provided, into which the speaker can slot either upright or on its side. Apparently, using this little base can improve the sound quality of the speaker, although I don't really understand this claim- when slotted into the base, the speaker is angled towards the floor, rather than upwards towards your ear, so if anything, I'd have thought sound levels would be reduced. For this reason, I don't tend to use the base, although I can see its benefits for preventing the speaker from being knocked over, and so I have taken it in the car with me from time to time, for extra stability. Its other recommended use is for looking at photos- as the speaker can slot in on its side, you can comfortably view horizontal photos while the speaker rests in its base. Personally, I don't find viewing photos on a miniscule screen a comfortable experience at the best of times, so I've not yet had recourse to use the base for this purpose.
Coming out of the top of the plastic casing is a long, thin metallic cord that forms a loop. Its length can be adjusted by pulling a small plastic attachment up or down the cord. I was puzzled by this at first, until I realised that it's an aerial for the radio function of the speaker. Once the iPod is inserted, a new 'radio' option pops up on the menu which enables you to listen to FM stations at the touch of a button. This is a very handy function, particularly as it saves you from taking a separate radio with you on your travels, yet another space-saving benefit to this little speaker.
On the side of the plastic casing is a USB slot, into which you can insert a lead to charge up the speaker, and the iPod slotted into it. The lead that comes with the speaker is the smallest I've ever seen- it's less than 2 inches long! When charging it, the speaker has to nestle right up to my laptop, and when I've plugged it into larger computers, with USB ports a good few inches from the ground, the speaker just dangles from them, hanging by the connection. I'm sure this can't be a good thing, and I have no idea why they designed such a tiny lead. Perhaps it's meant to be another space-saving device, but surely it wouldn't have hurt to make it a few inches longer?
Despite the stumpy lead, being able to charge speaker and iPod at the same time is very convenient, and means you can still listen to music while the two are charging. A small light above the USB slot shows you how much juice your speaker has got left in it. When it's all fine and dandy, the light glows green while your music is playing, but it changes to red when the battery's running low. While the speaker itself is charging, the light glows orange. Plugging in the speaker with the iPod in place, the speaker will always be charged first; once the orange light turns green, the iPod will start charging.
The speaker comes with a built-in lithium polymer rechargable battery, one charge of which can last up to 15 hours. Pretty impressive stuff, although I can't say I've ever tested it to its limits- I usually charge iPod and speaker together, and the iPod is always the first to run out of juice after a charge. This means that the speaker still has some battery power left in it when I next recharge the two, so it charges very quickly. One thing I have noticed is that the iPod battery goes down much faster when it's in the speaker than it would if I was using it with headphones. It's not too much of a problem, but is something to be aware of if you know you won't have computer access for a while, as you'd probably be better listening with headphones to preserve the battery.
The really surprising thing about this speaker is the sound you get from it- for such a small thing, it makes quite a noise! Listening to music in the car or around the house, I find I only need to turn the volume on the iPod to just over halfway to get a good sound level from the speaker. I do have to turn it up a little more than I would if I was listening with headphones to get the same result, but it's not a big difference. On maximum volume, the sound is enough to comfortably fill a room- it's not going to burst any eardrums, but would certainly be loud enough to make conversation tricky!
The sound quality is also very good- it's not tinny at all, but has a nice resonance to it that belies the size of the speaker it's coming from. I've seen many people do a double take as they realise that the rich sound they can hear in the room isn't coming from the big stereo, but rather the tiny box on the table! The only problem with the sound is that it's obviously only coming from one side of the speaker, so to get the best results, you have to position this side towards you. It's fine if you're the only one in the room, but if there are more people listening in, those facing the speaker side will get better results than those facing the ipod side. In this case, I'd turn it up loud so that everyone can get a decent level of sound.
Aside from the small design faults I've already mentioned, there's only one problem I've had with the speaker's functionality. There seems to be a slight glitch in the connection with the iPod which happens sometimes overnight, when the iPod has been sitting silently in the speaker. When I turn it on in the morning and press play, the iPod looks like it's playing the track, but no sound is coming out of the speaker. The only way of getting it to work is to remove the iPod and slot it in again, so that it 'reconnects' with the speaker. It's a bit of an annoyance, but fortunately only happens once in a while.
I've generally been really happy with this speaker- it's very convenient to have something so small to carry round with me, whether I'm taking it on holiday, or just moving it from room to room! Its sound quality and functionality are in no way compromised by its size, and I'm so happy listening with it that I rarely use headphones now. It's one of those gadgets that you wonder how people manage without, and when combined with the super-portable iPod nano, it's the perfect combination for compactness. For the price I paid, it was definitely a bargain, and I'm so pleased my friend persuaded me to buy it. At the current Amazon price of £67.26, however, I'm not so sure...great though it is, you'd probably be able to find an equally good option at a lower price. My recommendation would be to shop around- if you can get this for under £50, I don't think you'll regret it!
Yikes, I've broken my own rule and smashed through the 1000 word barrier- sorry about that! But it really is a testament to how highly I rate this product!