By Shannon Mominee
PHOTO: ADAM NEWMAN
The Acouztic and XM-10 are pretty cool devices that allow you to listen to music while cycling, hiking, or traveling. Both begin as a CNC-machined aluminum tube with a three-watt, omni-directional speaker and an anodized finish, but deliver music differently.
The $140 Acouztic is basically a combined flashlight and music player. There are six buttons plus a headphone jack. Putting music on the player is simple: plug the unit into a USB port, open your music software, and drag the music file onto the player’s interface. It holds up to 2GB of music.
Its 170-lumen light is bright enough for commuting. Five light modes range from steady to strobe to S.O.S. Two mounting brackets are included: a Twofish Lockblock and a hard plastic handlebar mount.
The maximum play time for listening to music is claimed to be 70 hours, or 40 hours for flashlight use. If both functions are used at the same time, expect less than 40 hours of battery life. I haven’t been able to drain the built-in lithium-ion battery and have only sparsely charged it. A USB/wall mount battery charger is included.
I appreciate being able to ride and listen to music without having my ears covered by headphones. At full volume, the music is audible, but not loud enough to cover up the sound of traffic coming from behind. The buttons are easy to press while cycling, but the play and volume buttons are covered up by the Lockblock mount. The plastic bar mount doesn’t cover the buttons, but it didn’t mount securely. The device is waterproof as claimed and feels solidly built.
The $40 XM-10 is a powered mini-speaker that amplifies music from any device with a 3.5mm audio-out jack. It has two volume settings, an on/off switch, and power indicator light. Its rechargeable lithium-polymer battery delivers six hours of play time and recharges in about 2.5 hours.
It’s small enough to take anywhere and can be mounted on a handlebar with a Lockblock, but one is not included. It’s also electromagnetically shielded, so it can be used on a monitor or TV, and multiple speakers can be plugged into one another for more sound. The XM-10 is perfect for camping or bike trips when you want a little music.
To my music-loving ears, the sound quality of both devices is pretty amazing. There’s a wide range of frequencies with full bass sounds, clear midrange, and highs that don’t sound thin or metallic. It doesn’t distort when pushed by my phone, either.
Both include all the necessary cords and a soft carrying pouch. Made in China. www.xceoninc.com