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Burney's Legal Tech Reviews - Burney's Gadgets for Legal Pros: Portable Speaker Technology

By Brett Burney, Published on July 25, 2004

Brett Burney is the Legal Technology Support Coordinator at Thompson Hine in Cleveland, Ohio. He regularly reviews products for Law.com's Automated Lawyer and Law Office Computing Magazine. Feel free to e-mail Brett with your legal technology questions.

 

 

More and more attorneys are giving presentations today, either internally to their firm, externally to clients or at community commitments, and especially at hearings and trials. Most people take the standard equipment to a presentation – a laptop, a portable projector, and PowerPoint slides with the obligatory bullet points. But since many people are now incorporating videos and multimedia files into their presentations, I thought the TDK I’MASPEAKER would be a handy gadget for anyone who needs a portable speaker set for their next presentation.

Not only do I hold CDs, “I’M A SPEAKER” too!

The TDK I’MASPEAKER set resembles one of those long fake leather CD holders. It’s 12.2 inches long by 6.5 inches wide and just over 2 inches thick.

When you unzip the case, you’ll see that it actually holds CDs. There are enough sleeves inside to hold 24 CDs. This is the stereo model that I’m reviewing here, the mono model will only hold 12.

The biggest feature, of course, is that the I’MASPEAKER houses two flat-panel speakers in one side of the case. Flat-panel speakers use technology that is different than the tried-and-true cones of most speakers. Depending on who you speak with, flat-panel speakers have a richer sound that can be heard from just about any angle.

The bottom line is that this flat-panel technology provides you with a wonderful set of portable speakers that really sound amazing. You’re not going to get concert-hall quality sound out of these things, but for a boardroom, or small courtroom, they will be more than adequate. At the very least, they sound MUCH better than your laptop speakers.

The TDK I’MASPEAKER plugs into your laptop’s headphone jack with a standard plug. This also means it will plug into just about any device with a headphone jack – an iPod, your PDA, or a portable CD player. The I’MASPEAKER even provides a mesh pocket inside the unit to hold your portable music device. I was even able to fit my old portable CD player inside without a problem.

With so much versatility, the TDK I’MASPEAKER can become your portable boombox. The product is obviously designed to be taken to beach-parties and other places where you want some portable tunes, but it sounds good enough to work at a professional level. Plus, the CD sleeves can house your various software CDs or backup discs when you travel.

It’s Speaker-rific

The TDK I’MASPEAKER has a good, sturdy feel to it, although I wouldn’t call it battle-hardy. It has a little padding inside so that it can take a small amount of bouncing around. The outside has a sort of polyurethane-esque feel to it which is good because it gives you a good grip and doesn’t slip easily. I was also happy to find a durable zipper on the product.

The audio cord on the stereo model is 15 inches long which is long enough for most purposes but you won’t be able to set the I’MASPEAKER very far away from your sound source. The cord is loose on the inside of the unit which makes me a little nervous. I wish there was a small compartment to hold the cord when not in use.

Something this good doesn’t work without power. The stereo model takes 3 AA batteries while the mono model only takes 2. I’ve been using the I’MASPEAKER for several weeks off and on now and haven’t had to change the batteries yet.

The power button is inside next to the battery compartment. I wish the power button was on the outside of the unit, although that would take away from the smooth, external appearance. Usually when I pump sound through the I’MASPEAKER, I have it zipped-up closed. When I’m done, I don’t always remember to un-zip to turn off the power.

My one last wish is that the TDK I’MASPEAKER had it’s own volume control. It works wonderfully from the controls on my laptop or PDA, but I wish it had it’s own internal volume control so I could tweak that as well.

Happy Sounds to You...

I think the TDK I’MASPEAKER is a wonderful gadget to take with you on your next presentation. If you have a video or audio clip that you want to play (a part of a video deposition for example), then the TDK I’MASPEAKER will do you proud. I’ve seen people bring in all kinds of fancy setups and external speakers, but the TDK I’MASPEAKER is a sleek way to pump sound everywhere for the low, low price of only $34.99 ($24.99 for the mono model).