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I was lucky enough to be given a Pink IPod Nano last year and I use it every single day. Whether I am at home, driving or walking I have to have my music on. I have grown up around music and this was the piece of equiptment I was waiting for and being the lucky girl that I am it was an amazing gift last year. The only problem I have is that I put all of my favourite songs on my IPod and although it has a speaker phone ability where you don't need your earphones I still missed playing my music loud in the house. Whether I am in the bath, cooking or just having a general clean up I love to have the music on, but because I move around the house (and I like a bit of bass) I have to have it loud! So next on my list was some kind of technology that let me listen to my IPod LOUD!
Now I did say I was a lucky girl and for my birthday this year my boyfriend got me this iPig. A great little thing which was on my Amazon wish list for a while. If you are like my mum then the word iPig is going to sound a bit odd... so... let me explain!
** Amethyst iPig iPod Speaker Dock **
An IPod docking station is basically a little parking space for an IPod that plays the songs through speakers. It obviously lets you hear your music louder then earphones or speakerphone is capable of doing and is a bit like having a CD player... but without having to keep changing the CDs!
This iPig is a quirky little thing and something which I have never seen before. To be honest at lot of the docking stations I have seen, although classy and sleek looking are relatively 'normal'. This iPig is definitely a bit different! It is an IPod docking station in the shape of... well... a Pig! Not a pathetic looking pig, but a sharp and sleep pig with a bit of attitude! It is about the size of a cantaloupe melon and also about the weight of one so very sturdy.
My iPig is a metallic pink, the same as my iPod but it is also available in black, white, red, yellow and blue. Every shade to match the IPods which I think is good as it makes it a matching set. Mine was purchased from Amazon and the price varies but it around £50. I personally think this is a bargain price for a unique product that works amazingly. Plus it s about average, if not even cheaper then other docking stations around so a great deal.
The iPig has loads of specifications so I will break them down and you can browse through what specifics you are most interested in. I know for myself I just want something simple and easy that will play my music, while others are concerned about the sounds or the little added extras... so hopefully this will be helpful to anyone looking for a good IPod Docking station.
** In The Box **
I was really pleased then when I opened the box that there was quite a simple set of wires and things inside. I hate reading instructions and I want things to just work straight away! So inside the Pigs box is:
3.5-mm auxiliary cable
** Setting Up The iPig **
From setting up the iPig to getting it to work literally happened in minutes. There is nothing technical to it and no silly things to screw in. This is a good thing as after browsing through the instructions for or five times, I just couldn't find any writing in English! There are three or four other languages but none at all in English! Slightly worrying at first until you realise how easy it is to set up!
The iPig itself is ready to go; you just have to pop in the power supply to start it up. The iPod comes with a 2 pin and 2 pin plug so perfect if you travel or if you want to take it abroad. (Although it is a little on the heavy side!). The plug adapter then connects to the power supply which is then attached to this pig. It sounds like a lot of wires but it is so simple to work out and it is also beneficial for when you want to store the pig away. Instead of having one loose wire getting twisted and bent you can individually roll up the wires to keep them safe and damage free. The pig has an on and off switch at the back and the main indication that the iPig is on and working is via its mouth. The pig has a little smiley mouth which flashes green to indicate the power running through it and also flashes when put on standby. A cute little handy feature.
The iPod itself fits neatly into the head of the pig in-between its ears. The dock adapters in the box are there to ensure that all IPods released up to 2010 can be used on the pig. I have read in other reviews that this doesn't work with the IPod shuffle. This is NOT true!!!! The auxiliary cable which comes in the box lets you attach the shuffle to the pig so you can listen to your mini music player. It also means that although this is advertised as being used with the IPod brand, you can attach virtually an MP3 player to the pig. Plus if the mood took you to experiment, you can also connect things like your computer, PSP, Wii, TV and even your mobile phone if it has audio-playing capabilities. This of course might take a little bit more technical knowledge but at least you know the option is there!
As soon as you pop the IPod in the dock and switch in on, the Pig is ready to go. There really are only a few things that can go wrong and that's usually that the pig isn't switched on at the back, the iPod isn't fitted into eh dock properly or the volume is down. Easy mistakes to make.
Overall in terms of setting up the iPig it is minimum effort and minimum knowledge needed. Quick and incredibly easy. This makes it great for any age to use and set up from young to old and everyone likes to use their gifts straight away!
** Sound **
As for the sound I was genuinely surprised how this little pig performs. The two eyes of the pig are the speakers and they may look small but goodness me they are powerful! The specifications state that this little pig has...
'A 4-inch sub, bass reflex system, two tweeters, two 1.5-inch mid-range drivers, a sound stabilization system, and plenty more. .'
Now, I am no technical pro, but just from listening to the sound it is incredibly crisp and clear. Even at its highest volume which is extremely loud, it doesn't become shaky or squeaky like some small speakers do. I can have the pig on at a decent level of volume, not on maximum but about half way and this can be heard down the corridor. If I put it on a little louder it even drowns out the Hoover, so very impressive. The bass can be adjusted by a little button at the bag and it has quite a deep bass output which I love. I always have mine on maximum. Considering how tiny the pig and considering the loud output it gives I am pleased it doesn't shake or move. The impact doesn't alter the pig at all and it can be left on any side or shelf without the worry that the bass will make it full off. This pig is a sturdy little thing!
Another aspect which I love about this iPig is the cute round ears. Not only do they give the pig some character but they act as additional volume controls. (You can also adjust the volume on the remote). The touch feature really is quite quirky and you just have to give the ear left ear a tap and the volume will go down and the right ear makes the volume go up. Very clever and an easy to use feature. If the phone rings there is no scrambling for the remote or to find the volume control. The ears are standing right there in front of you!
The pigs sound is distributed amazingly. The sound is shared out through 5 strategically placed speakers that allow the sound to spread over the pig and therefore spread over the room. It also means that the power is shared so the worry of blowing one of the speakers is reduced. Perfect for me as in the past 5 years I have blown 4 speakers... I did say I like my bass!
An amazing volume for a small pig and great clear quality. No buzzing or crackling even with the bass on full. 5/5
** Remote Control **
There is no point having a cute IPod docking station if you still have to get up and manually choose your settings, so this pig comes with a fantastic little lightweight remote control. Whenever you press the remote the pigs' smiley face will light up green so you can see that the pig has received the command. This helps be because sometimes I misjudge exactly where I am pointing and can never quite tell if I am pressing the right button. So the little green smile does me good!
The remote control works from a good distance and does everything from flicking though the iPod menu to choosing what song you want, or what artist or just choosing random songs. It also does what you would expect and change the volume, put the Pig on standby etc. the only thing the remote control cant do Is switch the iPod on and off. A remote control that actually works and does a lot more then what I would expect the only, very slight downside is that the buttons are very small and you occasionally can press the wrong button. But that's hardly an issue!
A well designed remote that does what I want it too! 5/5
** Any Extras **
What you see is what you get with the iPig. It plays the music on your IPod clearly, loudly, quickly and without any difficulties. There are no other real surprises with the pig but you really don't need any as it works perfectly.
The only other plus I can think of is that while the IPod is in the docking station it charges it at the same time. Personally this is an absolute advantage for me. I have to charge my IPod almost everyday and I even bought an in-car charge for those times when I was driving and could kill two birds with one stone. But now I can listen to my music and charge it at the same time is brilliant!! I never have to worry about the battery on my IPod running out again as most of the time it is in my pig charging itself away.
The only other downside is that it is so easy to forget that your IPod is still in your iPig and many a day I have gone out forgetting it. Plus I often mislay my earphones because I don't need them when I use the iPig, the only way to get around this is to be less forgetful or buy another iPod!
** Recommendation **
There is no doubt that this iPig gets 5 stars from me. It is an unusual looking think that always gets a jealous giggle from my friends and is small but stable enough to be put on any surface. It doesn't look cheap or tacky and actually looks quite high-priced. It is simple to use and quick to set up. Plus the sound quality is far better then expected.
This is a perfect gift for any occasion and the range of colours can be suited to the décor of the room it will be in or to match the iPods colour or just to match someone's personality! It also comes in a panda design so keep a look out as I am sure there will be more designs on the way. I believe it is well worth its money and I have used mine almost everyday since March and have had no problems at all with my iPig.
It is one of the best presents I have ever received and will continue to embrace my IPod for a long time to come.