Rating: ★★☆☆☆

When I first noticed the SolidSound iDuck music player, I thought that this was a device I could surely get some use out of. Sure, it’s designed for children who need a little bit of entertainment while they take a bath, whereas I am a bachelor in my mid-twenties who usually only spends a few minutes in the shower when it’s absolutely necessary. Still, my biggest moments of inspiration tend to come when I am either listening to music or taking a shower or bath, and I thought wouldn’t it be great to combine those two great muses with one little yellow device.

Billing itself primarily as a device for children, I had to think about what kinds of things might happen to an iDuck. I am happy to report that the device presents no obvious choking hazards, but once I started playing with the floating yellow speaker, I noticed a very crucial oversight. Kids like to play with their bath toys, and they like to splash in the water. Heck, I like to splash in the bath too. After submerging the iDuck in water for just a few seconds, the effect to the sound was akin to dropping your favorite pair of headphones in the pool. Though the water did pour out of the speaker quickly, you would expect a waterproof device to handle water a little better.

The wireless transmitter hooks up to any device with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, including MP3 players, laptops, and more. The range of approximately 13 feet works very well, though if the signal is lost, it usually needs to be reset via the button the duck’s back. Though the water rolls off, the rubber control panel placed on the back only allows you to scan for FM stations, use the wireless egg-shaped transmitter, or change the volume between low and high settings.

The entire rig is powered by 2 AAA batteries inside the duck and either 3 AAA batteries or a 4.5 volt DC power supply connected to the transmitter. Neither the adapter nor the batteries are included with the equipment, though the battery life lasted long enough for plenty of baths, assuming you turn both devices off when not in use.

Overall, the sound quality was very crude, but unless your child runs a music blog, the reverberation off of bathroom tile make the sound full enough to enjoy. The iDuck failed to meet expectations in terms of usability in the bathroom, but the FM tuner did perform quite admirably, and the flexibility of using any device with a headphone jack to provide the music is a good design choice to let those tunes come from almost anywhere.

The SolidSound iDuck is available from ThinkGeek for $29.99.

Pros:

  • 13 feet of clear range allows device to be located pretty much anywhere inside of the bathroom
  • Novel design seeks to enhance bath time by offering musical accompaniment
  • Built-in FM tuner works surprisingly well, with good range and smart signal scanning

Cons:

  • Requires 5 AAA batteries or a DC power supply and 2 AAAs to operate, and doesn’t come with either
  • Rendered nearly unusable if the speaker becomes wet, which is likely to happen inside of a bathtub
  • With only two volume settings and only a scan button for the FM tuner, getting precise results is difficult










Michael Radon

 
Born in the Midwest, living in the Southwest, Michael Radon grew up wanting to make video games for a living before finding his calling as a writer. Though he often heads out on spur-of-the-moment adventures with little to no preparation, he's just as sure to remember his toothbrush as he is at least two portable consoles, a laptop and five to ten games on his person at all times just for those lulls in the action where he can squeeze in a few levels of gaming.