The Italian company hi-Fun specializes in adding speakers to items that aren’t necessarily improved by their addition. (They also seem expert at added a “hi-” prefix to their product names). The company makes the hi-Sleep, which is a pillow with built-in speakers. There’s the hi-Head, a hat with built-in speakers. And the hi-George is a teddy bear that can both hug an iPod and blast tunes out of its feet.
The hi-product that most caught our attention? The hi-Sun—a beach towel with built-in speakers.
These speakers are the design equivalent of one of those cool nightclubs that have metallic beams and exposed pipes.
Spot Cool Stuff previously reviewed the Sorapot, a teapot designed by Joey Roth, under the headline Form Meets Function.
The exact same headline would applies to American designer’s second commercially available product: The Joey Roth Ceramic Speakers.
In tough economic times there’s a special need for gifts that come at a cheap price but that feel expensive. So here are 10 items with a low cost and high WOW factor. As with our other gift guides, friends and family of Spot Cool Stuff are advised to read no further lest you ruin the surprise of your gift this holiday season. The rest of you, carry on . . .
Spot Cool Stuff does not understand why most of the world’s alarm clocks wake their owners with a jarring buzz or annoying beep. We can imagine some worse ways to be awoken—eg. via cobra bite, bucket of cold water or missile attack—but not many.
Imagine instead being woken by the sound of birds chirping, wind chiming, jungles jungling (or by the radio playing or whatever tune you wish from your iPod) as a soft bedside light gradually brightens over a period of several minutes. That’s how one starts one’s day with the Philips HF3490 iPod clock radio.
It is impossible for a lightweight, battery-powered portable speaker system to produce the same sound quality that a larger, high end plug-into-the-wall unit does. The laws of physics are too stacked against small, power-efficient speakers for that. But the On Tour portable speaker system from JBL comes remarkably close to breaking these laws. Newton himself would be amazed at the big sound that comes out of these little speakers. We are guessing that he’d also appreciate the On Tour’s design that includes a sliding cover and optional top clamp that can hold a portable game system (Newton being the sort of guy who surely would have had a Sony PSP).
What’s most remarkable about the On Tour system, though, is its low cost. At the current Amazon sale price of $50~60 there is absolutely no other speaker system that provides as much quality for as little money.
Fans of The Family Guy would be forgiven for an initial impression that the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Loudspeaker’s profile is similar to that of Stewie’s head. The Zeppelin’s elongated football shape gives this speaker system a striking silhouette. But the design doesn’t only look dramatic, it is a main reason why it SOUNDS dramatic. The shape of the Zeppelin causes its sound waves to evenly disperse over an area wide enough to fill a large room. The design is so innovative that the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin was awarded a prestigious gold medal at the 2008 IDEA awards for it. (The Flip Mino camcorder was also among the three gold winners).
If you are like us your computer doubles as your stereo. And perhaps also as your television, your video game system, your telephone and your escape from reality. Good computer speakers are essential. Logitech’s Z Cinéma Advanced Surround Sound System provide EXCELLENT computer speakers. A sub woofer supplies a massive base. Two tiny satellite speakers pull off a ventriloquist act by creating a 360 degree surround sound superior to the vast majority of 4- and 8-speaker systems we’ve heard. A full-featured remote controls it all. Unlike most computer speakers, the Z Cinema connects through your computer’s USB port, which transports both data and true 24-bit digital audio. No sound card is required though, very sadly, the Logitech Z Cinéma’s USB-based interface is not compatible with Macs.