by Matt Serrano on July 2, 2008 in Audio & Media
There’s a bevy of options out there if you’re looking for an affordable docking speaker system for your iPod, but not all of them have the same design priorities in mind. Here’s our detailed look at XtremeMac’s Tango X2 iPod speaker system. Does the Tango X2 sound as good as it looks?
The Tango X2 has a rubberized texture that covers most of the product’s body, with the exception of the front grill. The front hides an LED display that shows different information depending on the mode the product is in. For example, when an iPod is plugged in, the word "iPod" appears in a blue hue. If you were to switch to the radio tuner, it would display "AM" or "FM" accordingly.
The black circle below it serves as a dual-purpose control to change the volume and cycle through output modes. The wheel is physical, not touch sensitive, and works by rotating along the center axis. The volume is raised when it is moved clockwise and lowered when it is moved counter-clockwise. To change listening modes, the button is pressed to go to the next one.
The speaker, unlike a lot of cheaper products I have personally come across, feels solid and durable in construction. It doesn’t feel as rugged as I would have hoped to use it in a portable circumstance, but I would consider it to be in the same tier as stationary computer or bookshelf speakers.
Presumably to cut costs, XtremeMac has forgone the inclusion of a set of iPod docks. Because the iPods have both lost and gained weight over the years, Apple has begun including adaptors with their products, one with every iPod sold and a complete set of current generation iPods with first-party products that use them, to seat them securely. Third-party manufacturers have tackled this issue with different techniques, but if you don’t have a spare adaptor to use you’re iPod will have to sit without any support, at risk of possible damage if too much pressure is applied.
The included remote is a nice jester, but I found it to be a bit cheap and ultimately, tacked on. It has most of the same functionality if you were to operate the controls at the base of the unit, but it has a short range and the buttons are awkward, and at times, hard to press with a mushy feeling to them. The remote feels almost like a chore to use, which is very discouraging. Considering there is no way to use a universal remote with the product, I would have hoped a better effort would have been made in its construction.
With all things considered, the product’s looks are very easy on the eyes, and it shows off a sleek conservative style. I don’t find much wrong with the design, but since the product was made specifically for iPods, XtremeMac could have stayed confined to a more Apple-like design instead of swaying off in their own direction, but that’s simply my opinion.