Review: No Love for the iLuv

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 8th, 2007, 00:00
Category: Review

iluv-400.jpg
As an iPod with Video owner, it doesn’t take long to realize that watching a full-length movie on that tiny screen just isn’t realistic. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, it draws attention from my kids’ friends (and mine too). And, in a pinch, it does the trick. But after a year with it, mainly what I’ve found is it’s simply an easier way to carry around movies and TV shows to watch someplace else (of course, besides a music player). Where I used to carry around 20+ DVDs, I now simply plug my iPod with Video into the video-in of most TVs (using Apple’s iPod AV cable – $19) and off I go. My kids love it, especially in the van using the built-in video player.
This past weekend, while shopping for myself for my big 4-0, I happened across the Sonic Impact SI5 at the Apple Store. Basically, the SI5 looks like a portable DVD player, but the iPod sits in a tray to play the movies. For $200 it plays the movies, but little else. So I went searching for other options when I came across the iLuv Portable iPod player AND DVD player.
I picked it up at Micro Center for under $150. I thought “what a great idea – a portable DVD player AND a large 7″ screen for my iPod.” I unpacked it, excitedly thinking I could get caught up on some last-season episodes of Lost before this season starts in February.
Click the jump for the full review…


iluv-400.jpg
As an iPod with Video owner, it doesn’t take long to realize that watching a full-length movie on that tiny screen just isn’t realistic. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, it draws attention from my kids’ friends (and mine too). And, in a pinch, it does the trick. But after a year with it, mainly what I’ve found is it’s simply an easier way to carry around movies and TV shows to watch someplace else (of course, besides a music player). Where I used to carry around 20+ DVDs, I now simply plug my iPod with Video into the video-in of most TVs (using Apple’s iPod AV cable – $19) and off I go. My kids love it, especially in the van using the built-in video player.
This past weekend, while shopping for myself for my big 4-0, I happened across the Sonic Impact SI5 at the Apple Store. Basically, the SI5 looks like a portable DVD player, but the iPod sits in a tray to play the movies. For $200 it plays the movies, but little else. So I went searching for other options when I came across the iLuv Portable iPod player AND DVD player.
I picked it up at Micro Center for under $150. I thought “what a great idea – a portable DVD player AND a large 7″ screen for my iPod.” I unpacked it, excitedly thinking I could get caught up on some last-season episodes of Lost before this season starts in February.
What I found was a large, clunky waste-of-money (fortunately, I can return it). First off, I have to say up front that I don’t know how the DVD player works, as the one I got is defective. The screen tilts up away from the unit and the DVDs fit onto a snap connecter under the screen. But the unit I have continues to display an error message – nonetheless I next tried watching a movie off my iPod instead.
The unit is like a large, awkward and bulky Game Boy Advance. It uses the same plastic and has the same feel with your fingers under and thumbs atop – just much, MUCH larger. There’s a flip-down easel-style stand for setting the unit on a table, however, the angle is not adjustable, so I found it easier to either hold or lean against something. Essentially, the iPod mounts under a cover in the back of the unit.
Once the movie starts playing (with the iPod in TV mode), you flip the whole system over and watch the movie on the larger screen. There’s a scroll wheel volume control on the top that adjusts the sound of the built-in stereo speakers.
The sound and picture quality itself is pretty good. It’s not as loud as I would expect – I had the unit cranked in a quiet house and it certainly wasn’t blowing the doors off. In an airport or office, I suppose I would have to use headphones (a decent but not outstanding pair shipping with the unit).
There are control buttons on the front of the unit in the same relative position as the directional arrow buttons on a Game Boy. But these buttons do absolutely nothing to control the iPod – they’re simply DVD controls. If you want to pause or switch the movie, etc., you have to turn the unit over, remove the protective iPod cover (or control it through a little control wheel hold cut into the protective cover), and play/pause, etc. Then flip the unit back over for the response.
The iLuv ships with a soft leather-like protective carrying case, shoulder strap, video-out cables, and, as I mentioned, a pair of headphones. However, at its size and girth, it’s not something that I would consider terming “portable.” The pictures on the website and the box are very deceiving as to the unit’s size.
My recommendation: Wait until revision 2.0

Recent Posts