January 2, 2008

Is it really George of the iPod jungle !!?

I've been a great fan of good home iPod speaker systems which boost the quality of music played by my iPod however, if you've been using one, you would know that one of the major drawbacks of most of them is that the remote control that comes with the unit offers only limited control of your iPod. You stick the iPod in the speaker's dock and you can do little more than skip forward and back through tracks (and possibly playlists), raise and lower the volume, and pause and play audio.

If you're lucky, the speaker has a display that's big enough for you to be able see what track is playing from more than a few feet away. Most don't, as they rely on the iPod's screen to display the relevant track and navigation info. Which brings me to George, the high-end iPod music system from start-up Chestnut Hill Sound. The George solves the interface problem in much the same way that Sonos does for media-streaming devices: it builds a remote into the system that essentially mirrors the display of the iPod. But the smart usability solution will cost you a pretty penny--the George retails for $500.

Cosmetically speaking, George's appearance is pretty polished. Weighing 10 pounds and measuring 4.5x14.1x8.6 inches (HWD), it's slightly bigger than your average table-top radio and features removable speaker grilles, as well as interchangeable side panels that allow you to customize the look of your unit. The company says it will offer different "skins" (in cherry, walnut, or black oak) for around $99 each. Colorful speaker grilles will also be available for $29. Like many iPod music systems, there's a dock built into the top of the unit that recharges your iPod when it's inserted (and George is plugged in). The system comes with the typical assortment of plastic sleeves or universal adapters that are designed to make your particular iPod model fit snugly in the dock. But what's unusual about the George is that the dock module itself is removable, and Chestnut Hill has said that it will eventually offer an optional HD Radio module that includes a new iPod dock and a small accessory that will clip onto the back of the unit.

The Good, The bad, the Bottom line and the Price ( Click here to read more .. the content will open instantly below )

The good: High-end iPod speaker system/radio; detachable front panel that doubles as an advanced iPod remote; remote has a range of 25 feet; RF Zigbee transmission eliminates line-of-sight limitations; rich, detailed sound; relatively sleek design; upgradeable firmware; AM/FM clock radio with dual alarms and 24 presets; interchangeable side panels and speaker grilles; includes separate remote charger.

The bad: It's expensive, there's no video output, and it doesn't handle heavy bass all that well.

The bottom line: In addition to its upgradeablility and customizable colors, the George sets itself apart from other upscale iPod tabletop radios with a unique and useful visual wireless remote.

Price range: $499.00 - $499.99


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