capsule review

Review: PodShave, PodShaveLady

At a Glance
  • PodGear.net PodShave, PodShaveLady

    Macworld Rating

As increasing numbers of people adopt the iPod, canny designers have developed intriguing add-ons that expand the capabilities of this erstwhile music player. One of the more interesting devices to cross our desk recently is PodGear.net's PodShave and PodShaveLady, portable shaver attachments for dock-connector iPods (including the iPod mini).

The idea is as simple as it is inspired. A white plastic clip that features a vibrating shaving head attaches to the top of the iPod via the iPod's audio and remote ports (the remote port attachment is necessary as it provides power to the shaver). The bundled CD includes the software necessary to add a Shave command to the iPod's main screen (the disc's Music folder also includes a welcome collection of DJ mixes of the classic "Shave and a Haircut" in MP3 format). The Shave command can be turned on or off via the Main Menu command in the iPod's Settings screen.

Stubble Stumbles

To allow you to shave while listening to music on your iPod, the PodShave includes an audio pass-through port on the side of the clip. The device also offers a "Stubble Collector," a tiny vacuum that collects hair removed by the device.

Although both the pass-through port and Stubble Collector are nice ideas, their execution leaves something to be desired. To begin with, when the shaver is on, the music we listened to adopted a tremolo effect, timed to the speed of the moving blades. While this effect isn't unpleasant when listening to surf music, it's inappropriate for classical and polka. Secondly, there's a certain gender bias inherent in the design. While men will find it convenient to shave and listen at the same time, women reaching for their legs will find that as they move toward the ankle, their earbuds are rudely pulled from their ears. The PodShaveLady should definitely include a headphone extension cable.

The PodShave was developed in England, as is made clear by the design of the Stubble Collector. While the capacity of the Collector may be adequate for many Britains (a sparsely-haired people), those who need to shave multiple times a day (my cousin JoJo, for example) will find that they must empty the Collector three or four times before the completion of the job. In the next revision of the product I'm hopeful that PodGear.net will add a blower-bag attachment for those living in the Eastern Bloc.

Performance

In testing, the PodShave performed reasonably well under normal circumstances. During a two-and-a-half minute once-over, the PodShave offered a shave as close as other electric razors I've tried and didn't appear to significantly drain the battery. It had a tougher time when stressed, however. When exploring some of the thatchier areas of cousin JoJo's back, the iPod got very hot and the PodShave eventually locked up (though, to be fair, JoJo reports this same behavior from Black and Decker's Hedge Hog XB HDT22 ).

The Lowdown

The PodShave is a wonderful idea but is suitable only for light-to-medium haired individuals who don't mind a little extra wiggle in their music.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Can play music while shaving, reasonably close shave

    Cons

    • Chokes on thatch, shaver vibration transferred to music
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