By the time the Griffin Evolve iPod speakers launch in the UK it will have been a year since we first heard about them at Macworld in January. Pocket-lint, deciding it couldn't wait any longer, managed to get a play with the new speakers ahead of the launch in 2008. Worth the wait or have we been wasting our time? We get listening to find out.
Different from your usual iPod speaker system, the Griffin evolve system consists of a flat charging base that holds your iPod in a universal dock. On either side are charging stations for two cube-shaped speakers, each housing its own battery power pack that will then work independently in another room.
Called EasyCharge, the speaker needs only to be placed on the dock to charge via its three connector pins. Griffin are promising the battery-powered speakers will give you up to 10 hours of music from a 2 hour charge and each speaker features its own on/off power switch and automatic sleep mode for power conservation, however we weren't able to test this claim in our brief look.
Evolve's main asset however is its wireless functionality. It boasts a range of around 150 feet meaning you can play music in another room, although you won't have any control over the music where you are listening which is rather frustrating if you get a song you've got tired of.
According to Griffin you will be able to add further speakers to the system by simply syncing them with the base station - a case of plonking them on top to register, although we aren't sure whether the new speakers will come with their own charging bay, we hope so.
So what do they sound like? Well although the booth at IFA was pretty noisy with a karaoke demo happening on the adjacent stand, the volume was crisp and clear with plenty of bass. The results surprised us the music is carried wirelessly. Still if they sound good in a show hall with plenty of music we expect they will sound even better in your home.
As for the wireless reach, we were only allowed to get around 20 metres (60ft) away from the booth, but it was enough to show us that the signal in open spaces (at least) doesn't affect performance. Again we aren't sure if in your old English home with its thick brick walls we could say the same, but going from your kitchen to your garden should be no problem.
The Griffin Evolve's look really promising offering you a decent iPod dock but then adding in the ability to move the speakers around without getting trapped by wires for garden parties or listening to music around the house at a moment's notice.
The Griffin Evolve iPod speakers are due to be launched in January 2008.