Belkin Australia iPod & MP3 Control Backpack
- Stylish, protective, roomy and comfortable - what more do you want from a bag?
- The keypad strap forces blind operation.
The Belkin iPod & MP3 backpack does exactly what the name implies, with fair-to-middling effect. It might not be the ideal way to carry your iPod, but it definitely beats those fashion-tragic arm straps that joggers like to wear.
Price$ 129.95 (AUD)
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When it comes to flooding the market with gratuitous peripherals and accessories, the iPod is completely in a league of its own. The cute-yet-terrifying logo has been stamped on every product imaginable - from baby clothes to Nike sports kits - and its widespread proliferation has even spawned a new catchphrase ('the iPod ecosystem').
It was only a matter of time before someone released an iPod backpack, which is exactly what Belkin has called its latest creation. In a nutshell, it grants the wearer external access to their MP3s via a flexible keypad, allowing you to keep your handset safely zipped away. In addition, the bag has been designed to comfortably store all your electronic essentials in one place. Like the majority of iPod accessories, its merits are well designed... but hardly life changing.
The iPod backpack is a chunky piece of kit, presumably aimed at hikers who want to drown out the sound of nature with their favourite thumping beats. Your portable media player of choice plugs into a specially designed side pocket, which includes both an iPod connector and 3.5mm jack. Somewhat handily, your headphones connect separately to a socket on the bag's upper right shoulder strap.
Naturally, selecting tracks and adjusting volume is achieved externally via the flexible keypad located just below the headphone outlet. Although the keypad is easily accessible while wearing the bag, there is no display to tell you what you're doing; which can make track management a hit-and-miss affair. Plus, for some reason the straps volume controls are only appear to be compatible with iPod players.
To test its hardiness, we packed the bag with left over eggs from Easter and proceeded to boot it around the office. Despite some Harry Kewell-style punishment, the chocolates remained mostly unbroken thanks to the bag's abundant padding. This not-very-scientific experiment amply demonstrates how well your valuables will be protected.
Amongst the assortment of pouches and compartments is a reinforced sleeve designed for laptop storage, which will fit most medium sized notebooks. For the truly tech-addicted, there are also two Velcro-lined pockets suitable for mobile phones. In fact, you could almost store an entire portable office in this bag, making it a smart choice for business travellers.
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First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
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The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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