Oregon Scientific's iBall

Oregon Scientific recently released the iBall, a bowling-ball shaped wireless speaker for the iPod. It's a lot like the StyleFi Music Sphere, but re-engineered with the iPod in mind. I got a chance to have a hands-on look at it a few weeks ago when Oregon Scientific was in town showing it off, and I have to say I was pretty impressed. It features advanced 2.4 Ghz wireless technology, with adaptive frequency hopping spread spectrum, and will broadcast up to a 100 feet. We did a little mini-experiment, and brought the speaker a flight of stairs down to the lobby, and the only time it broke signal was when we went outside.

The iBall has a three-speaker array with a ported bass cavity, which allowed the sound to project through the room. There's also a built-in iPod remote on it so that you can control your iPod from afar. The round LCD display to the front illuminates the time, volume, play/pause status, battery power, as well as the wireless signal strength. Auxiliary stereo line-in mini plugs as well as S-video a/v stereo line out are integrated, for use with additional audio sources as well as the stereo or television. It'll run for about 6 to 8 hours on a single charge, or you could use an AC adaptor as well.

My one complaint was that it seemed a little cumbersome to carry; one, because it's a just a tad hefty, and two, it just seems silly to be bringing a bowling-ball shaped speaker around with you. But if you want a conversation piece for your next party, this could definitely work. It'll be out later this year, and will go for about $300.

iBall [Oregon Scientific]