Admittedly, I am a huge fan of Kensington; I think they produce some of the most coolest, intrinsically stylish, durable and affordable peripherals and devices in the world. Hence, I was very ecstatic to get the opportunity to kick around the tires on one of their latest offerings: The FX 500 Speaker To Go System ($49.99) for MP3 players.
Constructed of high density EVA foam and light weight plastic, Kensington touts that this makes the FX 500 impact and water resistant as well as shock absorbent. Operating the device was a cinch. You simply strap your mp3 player inside of the clear display window (and there’s even a foam sleeve to put your iPod Nano or other smaller type mp3 player in. The speakers are enclosed inside of the case and are protected via a light weight but hard foam lining.
The last step involves plugging in the speaker cable directly into your mp3 player sound source and zipping the case shut (zippers adorn the case but are barely noticeable). The FX500 is powered by 3 AAA batteries with an estimated playing time of 10 hours. You control your MP3 player controls through the clear window and there is a power button that turns the FX500 on and off. Also, there’s a stand that holds up the FX500 which makes it totally portable.
Also, I would have to strongly disagree with Kensington’s claim that the FX 500 has ‘Superior’ sound. At best the sound is ok and when the volume is turned all the way up, I did notice a bit of distortion, but not enough to disappoint. However, some iPod users may find the FX 500 to be a bit inconvenient because it lacks an on-board charging dock.
While I don’t suggest one trying this, I did test the strength and durability of the FX 500 by dropping it several feet with a MP3 player intact (don’t worry, I used one of my older test MP3 players for this test just in case things did not go well). To my pleasant surprise the mp3 player did not crack or get scratched. Additionally, I also sprayed a fair amount of water onto the FX 500 to see how water proofed this gadget really is and to my chagrin I was impressed that nary of water seeped through the innards of the case. All in all the FX 500 isn't bad for what it is, a portable device that you would use as a quick companion while on the go. So, if you're an audiophile who enjoys the true highs and lows in your music, then this gadget isn't for you. However, if you do want something that is a quick study for your trip to the beach, or for your dorm room or to use as an aid in your house chores, then Kensington's FX 500 is a sure bet!
All in all the FX 500 isn’t bad for what it is, a portable device that you would use as a quick companion while on the go. So, if you’re an audiophile who enjoys the true highs and lows in your music, then this gadget isn’t for you. However, if you do want something that is a quick study for your trip to the beach, or for your dorm room or to use as an aid in your house chores, then Kensington’s FX 500 is a sure bet!
Lightweight, durable, water proof, shock absorbent, houses all makes of MP3 players, and is easy to set up and operate.
Sound is tolerable, no charging dock for iPods