Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Memorex Mi2013 Travel speaker
Portable speakers for your iPod.
- Plenty of volume from its small speakers, fold-up design, can switch between FM radio and iPod modes
- No mute button, lacks separate bass and treble controls, not enough presets
The Memorex Mi2013 Travel speaker performs adequately. It could use a few additions (such as a mute button and separate bass and treble controls), but if you're looking for a dock that can be used in the backyard, at the beach, in a hotel or while camping, it is a relatively inexpensive option.
Price$ 79.00 (AUD)
When a line-in cable and a suitable amplifier and speaker system are nowhere to be found, a dedicated iPod speaker dock comes in handy. Fitting the bill is the Mi2013 Travel speaker dock from Memorex. It's easy to use, looks good and is capable of filling a small apartment with a decent amount of volume.
It’s approximately 26cm wide, 18cm deep and 5cm thick, with two speakers concealed behind a tough steel meshing. The speakers and controls are two separate pieces attached by a hinge, which allows you to lift the speakers and let them point forwards, instead of upwards, when the unit is placed on a table.
The iPod sits in the middle of the unit, between the power and mode buttons. The Mi2013 is compatible with the 4th generation iPod and the Touch, Classic, Nano (3rd, 2nd and 1st generations), Video (5th generation), Photo and Mini. Just to make things difficult, we tested it with a 3rd generation, 30GB iPod, which is almost six years old. The Memorex had no problems controlling it. We were able to play, pause and skip tracks using the supplied remote control. However, it wasn’t able to charge this iPod while it was docked — and if ever there was an iPod that needs constant charging, it’s the third gen! It does support charging for all of the other iPods we mentioned, however.
With only two small speakers at its disposal the Mi2013’s sound quality isn’t well defined, but it does pump out enough volume to fill a 4x5m room. You’ll be able to lie comfortably on your couch while the Memorex is on the other side of the room. Unfortunately, the treble and bass come out dull and shallow. This was especially noticeable when listening to rock music and hip-hop. The built-in preset equaliser settings didn’t do a lot to brighten up the sound and meaningfully separate the highs from the lows.
You can use your iPod’s built-in equaliser settings to control the frequencies, but the Mi2013 would benefit from separate treble and bass controls. It would also benefit from a more versatile volume control: volume levels 1-5 are all practically inaudible, while the sound level almost quadruples from level 6 to 9. The volume goes up to level 16, but the usable volume levels are 6-16. The levels 1-5 should only be used if you want ambient sounds in the dead of night to help you get to sleep.
The Mi2013 can also be used as a standalone FM radio (sorry talkback fans, it doesn’t have an AM tuner). Its reception was strong in our test environment, even with its antenna retracted deep inside the base of the unit. Radio presets are easy to store: press and hold the presets button, select the preset number and press the preset button again. It can store 10 presets.
For use on the road or at the beach, the Mi2013 can run off four AA batteries. We used a pack of Duracell batteries and set out to run the Mi2013 for an entire day using a balance of iPod and FM modes. The batteries didn’t give in after 12 hours of continuous playback (four hours of iPod playback and eight hours of radio), which means your iPod’s battery will run out well before the AAs in the speaker dock give up the ghost. Supported iPods will only be charged if the dock is plugged in to an outlet.
One feature that we wish the Mi2013 had is a clock and timer — it can’t be used as an alarm clock. However, if you leave it on all night you could probably use your iPod’s alarm clock function to wake you up.
For non-iPod devices there is a line input, which is handy if you want to plug in and share music from a Creative Zen or other MP3 player. What’s funny is that Memorex has also included a headphone jack, which will probably only be useful if you want to listen to music privately while also charging your iPod.
There's not much more to this speaker dock, and overall it performs adequately. It could use a few additions (such as a mute button and separate bass and treble controls), but if you're looking for a dock that can be used in the backyard, at the beach, in a hotel or while camping, the Mi2013 is a relatively inexpensive option.
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