Intempo idab review: an ipod digital radio
I've finally found the solution to hauling a digital radio and an ipod around.
The Intempo idab, about Â£50, is a small device that plugs into your ipod and turns it into a digital radio. And it works brilliantly! Although it has a couple of drawbacks ...
Idab: good points
The idab digital radio receiver is easy to use, although you do need to bother reading the instructions (you have to leave your ipod playing music for it to run - don't press pause like I did and wonder why it had stopped working).
You just stick it in the bottom, press play, tune to a station and you're off.
Like most personal digital radios, the Intempo idab uses the headphones as an aerial (and doesn't come with any - you can use the ipod's own headphones). This works well - although inevitably where I live in London, the signal is pretty poor at times (but it worked inside a shop, so better than I expected).
That's not the idab's fault. Apart from the inherent flaws of digital radio, sound quality is good.
In terms of features, it has 10 presets, a 4-line backlit display (the font is quite small - I'm not quite sure why it can't use the main ipod screen ...) and it can also be plugged into a speaker dock, not that I have one (although there is some doubt about it working with the Bose SoundDock)
Idab: bad points
The packaging is a scandal - it's about 20 times bigger than the actual device. And I kind of wish it was the same width as the ipod, but then I guess it would be too wide for the ipod nano. Oh, and the menu is a bit slow to react.
Anyway, that aside, the biggest problem with the idab has is that the physical connection isn't exactly rock solid. The ipod connector isn't really designed to have something in it permanently while you carry it around - it's not secure enough.
In my first 5-minute walk with it in my pocket, the idab fell out three times. You're supposed to only plug it in or remove it when the ipod is off. Waiting for that is boring, so I didn't. But then I couldn't get the thing to start or be in stereo, until I rebooted the ipod.
This sounds a fairly big flaw, but it's not so bad - get an elastic band like I did.
The idab works well, once you've invested in a rubber band. Like my ipod, I now carry it with me all the time, something I never did with my digital radio.