Who needs an iPod eh ? Well it appears that millions of people do. I walked past the huge Apple shop in Birmingham the other day and it was heaving looking at iPods and accessories. A popular accessory for the iPod is this thing..
If you’ve got a Smartphone then you’ve probably found that it does pretty much everything an iPod could do, and you’ll be busy loading it with music and walking or jogging around with your headphones on. However, when you get home it’s a little difficult to continue listening to your music other than keeping your headphones on. Luckily there is a solution for your Smartphone too in the shape of the i-mate SP5m Music Dock. I noticed that the spacing of the connectors on this device were similar if not the same as the Orange SPV C550 so, just to test whether it’d work with other handsets I bought one from brando.com.hk for just $32 and $3 Postage & Packing (only about £19.75 / €29 in total). Due to the fact that the shop is in Hong Kong, it took around 10 days to arrive. Not bad considering it’s the other side of the planet!
Here’s the package I received..
This isn’t just a box with some speakers in though. It’ll charge your device or, through the USB socket on the back, it will allow you to Sync your device while listening to some tunes blasting out of the twin speakers. There’s also a 3.5mm stereo line-in cable for connecting other devices, like a CD player etc. Plus you’ll get hands-free functionality due to the inbuilt microphone on the front!
On the picture below you can see the stuff you’ll get in the box. There’s a UK power charger (I presume the guys at brando.com.hk, who appear to make the thing, cleverly put the correct adapter in for the country it’s being shipped to), USB sync cable (which can have one end plugged into the adapter or your PC / laptop) and the 3.5mm cable for plugging in other things.
On the top of the unit you’ll find a small volume wheel so that you can .. well, you know what that does don’t you ? :) The first thing I wanted to know is what will fit onto the cradle. First I tried the newest Smartphone at the moment – the Orange SPV C600 (Cingular 2125)…
As you can see, it should fit fine. In fact…
.. it does!!! Well, OK it’s a bit tight. I had to wiggle it slightly and you can tell that it’s not strictly meant for the C600. I had a similar “tightness” with the Orange C500 (Audiovox SMT5600), although it did fit too…
The one device that fitted perfectly was of course the Orange SPV C550, which we’ve reviewed here. It not only fitted well but looked more “at home” in the cradle because the SP5m is virtually the same thing. Yes, the “rubber thing” stuck out a bit (this covers the ports on the C550, so I twisted it round so it’d sit properly). To be honest I’m all for pulling this rubber gromit thing off anyway :) In fact, Joe has emailed in to say, “It turns out the rubber flappy thing is actually quite easy to remove! Not only that – but it’s relatively easy (rather a lot of thumb pressure required) to get it back on again! Achieved successfully on two different C550’s. Thought you’d like to know”. Thanks mate! :)
I know what you’ll all be saying here. “What was the sound like?!” Well, in some crazy attempt to show you I made this terrible video, then I did another video of the Orange SPV C500 playing in the music dock. I doubt I’ll ever become a big film-maker, but it at least shows you the thing in action! :)
Overall, this does exactly what it says on the tin. The sound coming out of the speakers isn’t going to compete with your Dolby 5.1, however it’s perfect for playing your favourite tunes to a wider audience without worrying about battery life. The blue charge light on the front emits a cool soft glow and the silver finish gives it a quality aspect too. For the money it’s a bargain.
Link – “iMate SP5m Music Dock” @ brando.com.hk – $32 (+$3 Shipping to the UK) £19.75/€29