While the music of wind in the trees or a burbling brook are our preferred sounds when outside, there does come a time when having some tunes as background adds appropriate ambiance – like when you’re working in the yard, on a long bike ride, or relaxing with friends at the river or in the backyard. And then there’s those times when you want to amp it up a bit in the open air – do your own “boot camp” exercise class or jig around for your own impromptu dance party.
But we hate cords and plugs, and sometimes wired speakers and an electrical plug just aren’t handy or in the cards. Plus, let’s face it, when outside, there is a likelihood one will encounter a bit of dirt, grime and even a raindrop or two which can spell quick death to most iPod-compatible speakers we’ve seen.
The cy-fi speaker, which bills itself as the world’s first wireless sports speaker, can ride to the rescue. About the size and weight of a deck of cards and shaped like a large aspen leaf (about 6 inches by 9 inches), cy-fi is both shock resistant and water resistant. It’s also wireless, meaning you can keep your iPod or iPhone safely stored wherever you want with the tiny wireless transmitter attached, and place the lightweight speaker (about 4 ounces) someplace else for optimum sound delivery -- even if that means the speaker is in the rain or exposed to some mud or dust.
The rechargeable speaker promises up to six hours of transmit time, and our testing during many months of 2009 (we had the iPod version) gave us between 5 to 7 hours, depending on how near or far the speaker was from our iPod with the transmitter device. Although we did find the speaker sometimes experienced sound skips and jumps when it was placed more than 25 feet away from the transmitter (the company says it reaches up to 30 feet), that was often due to blocks such as a wall or thick wood deck railings or other obstacles.
The speaker can be mounted on bike handlebars, backpack straps, and likely other places you could dream up. It has rubber buttons on its face making it easy to pause/play, change tracks/playlists, and control the volume, even from 25 feet away from the iPod. There is also a version compatible with Bluetooth-enabled devices. Both versions come with two different sizes of mounting clamps, as well as a charging base with a plug.
One drawback is that without the base the speaker doesn’t stand up and just lies on its curved back so it’s a little insecure because it rocks a bit. Plus, although the sound is very good for such a small device and great if you want sound and have no other way to get it, you don’t get deep voluptuous tones but rather slightly thin or tinny ones. So put it in the right place and keep your expectations in grip and you’ll still enjoy the cy-fi.
SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested retail: $99.95
For more information:www.mycyfi.com