In a tech world cursed by proprietary connectors, iLuv brings added value. Hugh John reports
The iLuv Mo Beats sound bar: elegantEstablished in 2006, iLuv has rapidly become a major accessory provider for Apple mobile devices. At the launch of its new product range earlier this summer the company also unveiled an additional range of Samsung-friendly products.

Cases, cables, protective film, headphones, wall chargers, car chargers, ‘juice’ packs, docking stations, it’s a comprehensive list to embrace most mobile users’ needs and those of the education community too.

It’s hard not to see an irony in the variety of 'idocks' now available. No sooner does Apple bring out a new smaller and slimmer connector on its iPhone (as with iPhone 5) or iPad than third-party companies have to be ready ready with their docks; docks that get bigger and bigger. While Apple is celebrating compactness and ‘pocketability’, the likes of iLuv are offering dock solutions not much smaller than a laptop or mini-PC.

The most elegant of these units is surely the Mo'Beats sound bar. It’s a portable stereo speaker stand that contains a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery and can connect to your device via Bluetooth. In fact, the inclusion of an AUX input means that Mo’Beats is compatible with virtually any sound unit equipped with an output socket.

The tablet or mobile phone (it’s compatible with Apple and Samsung) rests comfortably in a slim groove that runs the length of the sound bar. A retractable bracket support at the rear ensures that the tablet or phone is securely held. There’s no doubt that the iPad, particularly, looks far better sitting in the bar in its uncased state as the brushed aluminium finish of Mo’Beats  has the same minimalist feel as many Apple products. In fact, the groove would be too small to accommodate any of the bulkier iPad cases.

In summary, this is a sound bar/docking station that would be a useful addition to, for example, a field trip where portability is at a premium. There are, however, a few minor reservations. The audio quality, while far superior to anything produced by the internal speakers of an iPad or Galaxy Tab, isn’t wonderful. Adequate, but not thrilling might be the best way to describe it. And while the Lithium Ion battery is reckoned to be powerful enough to power Mo’Beats through two complete movies, the device doesn’t have a throughput facility which means it cannot be recharged while it is drawing juice from the bar. In other words, when it’s done, it’s done.

Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose   4
Ease of use              5
Features                  4
Quality                     4
Value for money      4

iLuv Mo’Beats 
Sound bar/docking station (model number ISP245SIL) for Apple and Samsung tablets and phones (others too), price £69.99p

 

iLuve dual leadHere’s a cute little number that could be the answer for those of us who own mobile devices on two platforms. The DualJack cable is combination sync-and-charge cable that can be deployed for Android and Apple phones and tablets. One end of the cable terminates in a regular USB type A/male  socket (the computer end) the other has a micro USB connection (now the standard phone USB connection in Europe) and – here’s the clever bit – an Apple 30-pin connector. How did they do that? The Apple connector is attached to the micro-USB via a hinged design and tucks out of the way when not in use. It’s an ingenious solution and should result in one less cable to carry around.


Ratings (out of 5) 
Fitness for purpose   5
Ease of use               5
Features                   5
Quality                      4
Value for money       4

Premium DualJack   
Smart lead (model number ICB17BLK) that provides a synch/recharge link for devices with micro-USB connectors and Apple 30-pin, price around £14.99p

 

iLuv five-way splitgterAnd finally, for any teacher working with small groups of students with headphones, how about a five-way signal splitter? It just splits the signal five ways, right? In fact, the iLuv 5-Way Splitter with Remote and Volume Control is quite a way more sophisticated than that.

The centre unit sports three buttons, as well as five mini-jack stereo 'out' sockets and one trailing 'in' conector. The centre, larger button provides play and pause functionality as well as Next and Previous Track. The two smaller buttons control volume.

On the review sample, the volume control performed impeccably as did the play and pause functions. However, forward and reverse, which necessitated two or three clicks of the centre button, weren’t so convincing although it’s entirely possible that this reviewer’s numeracy skills, or lack of them, were to blame. ***Please check the website for compatibility as the Remote and Voice Over functions can only be used by specific Apple products.

iLuv 5 way splitter with Remote and Volume Control

Audio lead with mini headphone jack leading to five-way splitter with remote and volume controls (Model number ICB107WHT), £9.99p

Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose  5
Ease of use             5
Features                 5
Quality                    3
Value for money     5

iLuv products are available from a range of online retailers and you can find its own online store at www.iluv.co.uk