Playlist Product Roundup 5.2.05

Recently we’ve reviewed a number of fine digital music add-ons including an RF USB remote control from Griffin Technology, an affordable set of computer speakers that sound great, a 4-port USB hub that is perfect for the iPod shuffle owner, a flexible iPod mini automobile cradle and charger, and a set of three shields for your iPod shuffle.

Griffin Technology’s $40 AirClick USB is a remote control/receiver package that allows you to control multimedia programs on your Mac or PC from up to 60 feet away. In addition to offering good range, it supports the Macintosh applications you’d most like to control remotely—iTunes, PowerPoint, Keynote, Apple’s DVD-Player, QuickTime Player, and VLC (but no support for iPhoto). The Windows software supports only PowerPoint, iTunes, and Windows Media Player.

Klipsch’s ProMedia Ultra 2.0 computer speakers sounded damned good considering they’re priced at $100 and lack a subwoofer. Reviews Editor Dan Frakes suggests the ProMedias are an attractive compromise between good sound, small size, and low price. They’re anything but bass-heavy, but unlike most other computer speakers of this size, portions of the bass are actually there.

Belkin’s USB 2.0 4-Port Hub (a.k.a., the iPod shuffle hub) is exactly what its name describes: a four-port, USB 2.0 hub. About the size of a large Klondike bar, the $30 silver and white hub acts as a both a hub and a dock for your iPod shuffle thanks to a USB port planted right smack in the top of the hub (the other three ports are in the back). If you’re looking for a more flexible shuffle dock than Apple’s over-priced-at-$29 iPod shuffle Dock, this is the one to try.

Speaking of docks, Ten Technology puts an iPod mini dock in your car with its $50 flexDock. Similar to Belkin’s TuneBase, the flexDock provides a flexible arm with a cradle to hold your iPod mini and includes an audio output jack on the base that you can use to connect the mini to your car stereo via a cassette adapter or auxiliary audio cable. It’s gray and holds the mini in place a bit more securely than the Belkin device. We liked it enough to award it a Playlist Pick.

And finally, we cover XtremeMac’s $20 Shieldz for iPod shuffle, a set of three colorful covers for your iPod shuffle. They’re not cases, as they don’t completely cover your iPod shuffle. And they’re not “clip” accessories, as they don’t have a belt clip; in fact, they can only be used with the iPod shuffle’s lanyard. So “shieldz” it is. They’re shockingly bright, protect your shuffle from scratches and minor bumps, and they’re affordable. What more could you want?

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