iLuv iMM-747 Audio Cube: Review and video

iLuv has been making iPod and iPhone speaker docks for a while, and now the company has come to the table with a new product that extends docking to the newest member of the Apple family -- the iPad.

The iLuv iMM-747 Audio Cube features two cube-shaped speakers (hence the name) and a central dock that can be moved around to accommodate most iPods and iPhones. There's also enough space between the speakers to place an iPad, making the Audio Cube useful for those who want to pump tunes out of their iPad. While the Audio Cube does its job as a speaker dock quite well -- watch the video on the second page for a demonstration of how loud this thing can really get -- it falls short in a few areas.

First, the pricing is ridiculous on this model. Suggested retail is $149.99, although the Audio Cube is generally discounted by online retailers down to about $100. Even at at discounted price, there are many other iPad speaker docks for much less, including the SMK-Link PadDock 10 that can be purchased online for around $90.

Why am I bringing up the PadDock 10? For one very good reason, and another reason why I'm not too happy with the iLuv Audio Cube: at least the PadDock 10 holds the iPad in both portrait and landscape orientations. If you want to watch a movie with your iPad docked on the Audio Cube, you're going to be watching it with the video squeezed into the portrait orientation. On the other hand, you can also dock iPhones and iPods to the Audio Cube, something that would be awkward on the PadDock.

The Audio Cube also seems to be cheaply made, a contradiction when you consider the pricing. As an example, that $90 PadDock 10 has a solid aluminum base, while the Audio Cube is plastic. Black plastic for the speakers and stand, and a "faux aluminum" plastic strap that joins the two speakers.

If you get an iPad for Christmas and you're looking around for speaker docks, definitely see if you can do a hands-on demo of one at a local retailer. If I had just looked at the Audio Cube online, I would have been impressed. Seeing it in person was a bit of a letdown, so in the words of Ebenezer Scrooge -- "Bah, humbug!"

I did a short video for Wednesday's TUAW TV Live show demonstrating the Audio Cube. It's on the next page, and you can see for yourself how the device looks and sounds.