Increasingly, iPods are found not only tethered to headphones, but attached to home stereos or powered speakers via the device’s headphone jack or an iPod dock. When incorporated into a home stereo, the iPod lacks one feature that’s part and parcel of nearly every piece of modern stereo gear—the ability to control the iPod wirelessly.
Thankfully, a number of third-party manufacturers have stepped up to provide this capability with add-on attachments. The first to do so was Ten Technology with its $50
—a two-piece remote that featured a small head unit that plugs into the top of the iPod and a disc-shaped infrared (IR) remote control. The head unit features a pass-thru audio port for connecting the module to a set of speakers or a stereo receiver’s input jack. The remote controls Play/Pause, Next/Fast-Forward, Previous/Rewind, and Volume Up and Down functions.
While the naviPod’s remote offers good range and makes it easy to control an iPod’s basic functions from across a room, it can’t perform more advanced functions like changing playlists and albums, moving to the next chapter in an audiobook, or switch on shuffle play.
To address these issues, the company has stepped into the breach with a more advanced model—the $50
naviPro eX. Like the original naviPod, the naviPro eX is a two-parter (okay, three parts if you include the metal stand that attaches to the head unit that allows the iPod to stand up at a jaunty angle). It includes the same head unit with pass-thru audio jack as the original device but offers a larger remote that includes more functions. Arrayed across a surf board-shaped controller are the same Play/Pause, Next/Fast-Forward, Previous/Rewind, and Volume Up and Down buttons found on the naviPod’s controller. Mid-controller you’ll find Next/Previous Playlist, Next/Previous Album, and Next/Previous Chapter buttons. And near the bottom live the Shuffle Songs/Album/Off and Repeat One/All/Off buttons. The remote is powered by an included 3-volt lithium cell “camera” battery.
There are three models of the naviPro—one built for fourth-generation iPods and the iPod photo, another for the iPod mini (called the naviPro eX mini), and a third black model called the naviPro eX Black that’s intended for the iPod Special Edition: U2. Other than the shape or color of these devices, there’s nothing technically different about them. My standard naviPro worked perfectly well on an iPod mini, though the head unit, longer than the mini, sticks out over the side of the iPod.
Although Ten Technologies’ website claims that you can control slideshows on an iPod photo, this feature isn’t currently implemented. A representative of one of the device’s distributors, Dr. Bott, stated that while the functionality to perform this feat is built into the naviPro, Apple must update the iPod’s firmware to make it possible to control iPod photo slideshows remotely.
There’s little to say about the performance of such a simple device. Either it works well or it doesn’t. This one works well. In my tests the naviPro ably performed its job from over 20 feet away. Unlike some other iPod remote control units we’ve tested, it “sees” the remote control even when the controller is off-axis by nearly 90 degrees. It’s reasonably responsive and the controller fits nicely in my hand.
If you crave the ability to command your iPod from across a room, the naviPro eX is a solid and attractive choice—a choice that will be even more desirable when Apple allows an iPod photo to accept slideshow commands remotely. The naviPro eX is currently being sold by