Playlist Weekly Product Roundup: 7.7.05

Welcome to our weekly roundup of changes to Playlist’s Product Guide. We’ve added a bunch of new reviews this week, including three features.

In the feature category, you’ll definitely want to check out our First Look and feature review of Apple’s new 20GB iPod (with color display). The latest iPod model provides iPod photo functionality at the same price as the older monochrome iPod and, along with the now-less-expensive 60GB model, provides the most appealing full-size iPod lineup ever.

We’ve also cast our critical eye on three Bluetooth-powered wireless headphone systems for the iPod: Ten Technology’s naviPlay, MacAlly’s BlueWave, and Logitech’s descriptively named Wireless Headphones for iPod. If you’re in the market for wireless headphones, each system has something to offer (and each has limitations); which you should buy depends on what you want from your wireless headphones. Read the full review for all the details.

We’ve also updated our recent feature review of Altec Lansing’s inMotion iM7 with information about an issue with malfunctioning cradles on early production units. Currently shipping models no longer exhibit this problem, but if you bought an iM7 as soon as they were available and you’re having trouble with its iPod dock door, check out the updated review for information on contacting Altec Lansing for a replacement.

Finally, we’ve updated our Product Guide with a number of new product reviews, including several cases and a couple accessories. We really liked Contour Design’s iSee and iSee mini, crystal-clear plastic cases for full-size and mini iPods, respectively. Neither offers crush-proof protection—and both leave your iPod’s Click Wheel exposed—but they prevent the kinds of scratches and scuffs most people worry about while still letting your iPod look like an iPod. We also took a look at Power Support’s Crystal Jacket for iPod mini, a case that’s very similar to Contour’s iSee mini, but slightly thinner and a bit less sturdy.

Also on the iPod mini front, we reviewed TuneWear’s IceWear mini, which turns out to be one of our favorite “skin” cases for the iPod mini—not because it offers the ultimate in protection, but because of the little design touches that make the case so unique.

The other case we covered this week was Pacific Design’s iPod 4G Flip Case for 4G and later full-size iPods. We previously gave Pacific Design’s Flip Case for iPod mini high marks, so we expected a lot out of the version for full-size iPods. But even though it’s a solid case, it’s not quite as impressive as its little sibling.

We also covered two accessories this week. The first is TuneWear’s Aluminum Clip for IceWear mini, which, as its name implies, is an aluminum belt clip made specifically for use with the company’s IceWear mini. Carved out of a solid block of aluminum, the Clip is both attractive and well made. But apart from some additional shock protection, it doesn’t keep your iPod any safer than the IceWear on its own—it’s mainly a way to get a quality belt clip in an attractive design.

The other accessory we tested is PodsPlus’ iPod shuffle Dock. Much like Belkin’s USB 2.0 4-Port Hub (which we reviewed earlier this year), the iPod shuffle Dock connects to your computer via a USB cable and then provides three USB ports on the back along with a single vertical USB port on the top for your iPod shuffle. At $6 less than Apple’s single-port iPod shuffle Dock, it’s a bargain. (The Belkin model is $7 more than the PodsPlus product, but provides additional USB power via an AC adapter.)

This is just a recent sample of products covered in our ever-growing Playlist Product Guide. Check it out for the scoop on the latest and greatest in iPod- and music-related gear.

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