Late last year,
Practical Sailor published an article about devices that keep iPods free of moisture, sand, and dust (see Practical Sailor November 2006). Only one of those products came with speakers instead of earphones&emdash;the iFloat from Brookstone&emdash;but it didn't have a water-resistant speaker, and the sound quality diminished significantly once the speaker got wet. Now weve discovered a worthy replacement: the Ego Waterproof Sound Case.
Made by Atlantic Inc., of California, the Ego employs a sturdy rubber gasket and a snap latch. Atlantic claims the Egos clear polycarbonate is shatterproof. It has rubber guards on each corner and a shock absorbent insert (it comes with three to accommodate different iPod models) that cradles the iPod.
Practical Sailor testers dropped the Ego from 36 inches onto concrete three times, and no damage was noted. The device also floats; however, its not intended for immersion.
The Ego weighs just over 1.75 pounds, but its relatively compact (9.8 x 6.5 x 1.8 inches). An opaque membrane allows users to manipulate the iPods control wheel, and whatever device you use it with (iPod or mp3 player) will connect via a standard 3.5 millimeter jack. The Ego is powered by four AA batteries, which the company claims should deliver 30 hours of operation.
Testers floated the Ego in a freshwater pool and in salt water and splashed water over it for five minutes: no problems. The sound quality won't compare to most high-end audio systems, but it does offer tonal clarity and pleasing mid-range sounds. At full volume (64-72 dB at 10 feet), the sound should be sufficient to incite a little dancing in the cockpit.
The Ego sells
for $149 and comes with a storage bag, kickstand, shoulder strap, and a one-year warranty, which doesn’t apply to the music player. Its the best product for the job, in Practical Sailors opinion.