Versatile speaker dock with 7in LCD screen
AV Labs’ MYTube iPod speaker system is great example of a device intended to be a jack of all trades. At the heart of this boombox is a 7in LCD screen. This versatile system also boasts composite video in and out sockets, a USB port and a flash card reader.
- Built-in 7in display, versatile, USB reader, 3-in-1 memory card reader, composite in and out ports
- Dock inserts aren’t labelled, interference when used with iPhone, below average sound, below average display, poor remote
The AVLabs MYTube is a great example of a device that is a jack of all trades and a master of none.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
The design of this unit is very similar to the venerable iM7 — a cylindrical boombox-style design with the speakers on each end. The major difference is obviously the position of the LCD screen on the front and the iPod dock connector on the top. The MYTube is finished entirely in gloss black plastic and AVLabs has included dock inserts to fit most iPods. Strangely these aren’t labelled, so it can take a bit of fiddling to find the one you need.
The AVL340 supports all iPods with a dock connector, including the iPod classic and iPod touch. There is no support for the iPhone 3G listed on the sales package, but it still works regardless, as does the original iPhone. Unfortunately, iPhone owners should still look elsewhere — we experienced plenty of interference and you can only prevent this if you put the phone into airplane mode. Despite iPod connectivity being the main appeal here, a line-in port at the rear of the MYTube allows you to plug any portable music player into the unit.
Performance, depending on what mode you are using the system in, ranges from mediocre to average. Sound quality is disappointing considering both the size and the price tag of this unit — in particular bass is virtually nonexistent and there is little depth or clarity to the overall sound. There are also no bass or treble adjustment options, so you’ll have to rely on your iPod equaliser.
The 7in screen is admirable, but we have to question its inclusion considering that this unit can’t run on batteries — it isn’t portable and needs AC power. For iPod video owners the larger display may be useful, but iPhone and iPod touch owners would be best playing videos on the devices themselves rather than the MYTube. The quality of the display is average and the only real benefit of using this system for video is a boost in sound.
The 3-in-1 memory card and USB readers are useful inclusions, but the poor quality of the display means it isn’t ideal for photos. It would be best to stick with a digital photo frame if you are after a device to display images. The USB reader is handy for those who have music or video files stored on a USB key — but again, the quality of both video and audio is below average, so keep this in mind. It also takes a while for photos and videos to load off memory cards and USB sticks — sometimes almost a minute.
The rear of the unit houses a line-in jack, headphone jack and power-in jack and it also includes composite AV in and out jacks. This means you can connect the MYTube to a television or projector, and you can also connect other devices (such as video cameras) to the unit in order to utilise the display. Rounding out the package is a remote control, but we found it to be a hit and miss affair. At times it worked fine, but at other times it was unresponsive and often required a few presses before it responded.
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