A month or so ago, Engadget Show producer Ben mocked me for my insistence on carrying around my iPod Classic at all times, in addition to my phone. And then the unthinkable happened: I left the thing in a rental car, somewhere in San Francisco. Joni Mitchell said it best: you don't know what you've got till it's gone -- granted, she was talking about building parking lots, but it could just as easily apply to wedging your music player beneath the passenger seat of a Ford Escape. And yes, I'm a Spotify user, but if we're being perfectly frank here, the site's African highlife selection leaves a bit to be desired. And I probably don't need to tell you, dear reader, about the omission of Flying Nun and Drag City records.
Sure, busting out the player in the Engadget CES trailer was the cause for giggles, with my unwavering devotion to 2007-era tech, but who among you doesn't miss the tactile feedback of a click wheel? Or a smooth sail through one's library without the hiccups of poor wireless connections? Hey, there's even something to be said for the whir of a tiny 160GB hard drive from deep inside that metal casing. Will I be the guy at the retirement home clutching onto 50-year-old technology as the rest of the world passes me by? Perhaps. Spotify, get some Chance the Rapper and Led Zeppelin records, and maybe we'll talk.
-- Brian Heater
WhoSounds TARDIS Bluetooth Speaker
As children, we spend the bulk of our time vainly trying to reach adulthood. As soon as we've grasped that brass ring, however, we spend the rest of our lives desperate to go the other way. For a few fleeting moments, WhoSounds' TARDIS speaker does the impossible, sending you back to a time when you still hoped that Jonathan Powell would put aside his personal enmity with John Nathan-Turner and reverse the decision to transfer Andrew Cartmel to the BBC's "Casualty." As soon as I turned this humble plastic Bluetooth speaker on, the night-light began to flash and the TARDIS noise started to play; I giggled.
Of course, you probably care more about the gadget's technical specifications than any emotional responses it provokes. The pair of 5W (20W RMS) speakers offers clear, clean-sounding audio, while the various controls are neatly stashed away on the rear panel. Thankfully, if you do consign it to your bookshelf, there's a handy remote control that means you won't need to constantly remove it from its place. If you decide you'd prefer it to stand free on your desk, you can also use its rear-facing USB 2.0 port to charge whatever devices you've got lying around. While plenty of other Bluetooth speaker units do the same job, this was the only one I've been sad to send back after I was finished testing it.
-- Dan Cooper