Watching the latest TV shows or movies in your hotel room on your iPad or Android tablet? The pictures may be stunning but the iPad's smallish speakers will leave you pining for your home theatre system.
Logitech's new Tablet Speaker (rrp $49.95) is one solution to getting quality sound and decent volume from your tablet.
The compact module comes with a standard 3.5mm audio connector so you can plug it in to any tablet, while the built-in rechargeable battery is good for eight hours of playback. (But as it charges via a USB port instead of an AC socket you'll have to use your iPad's charger if you're travelling without a laptop.)
We were amazed at the quality of the speakers given their small size. It's very rich and satisfying to listen to.
The model has a spring-loaded clip that piggybacks the speaker to the back of the iPad and the actual speaker cones fire sideways, providing excellent stereo separation.
The audio also seems to have been tuned to take into account the slight muffling effect of being behind the iPad.
It's less effective on a laptop, however, because the audio cord isn't long enough to clip the speakers to the back of a notebook's screen and plug in to the laptop's sound output jack. But Logitech isn't marketing this as a "laptop speaker", it's a "tablet speaker" and at that task it excels.
The speaker is intended to be clipped to the top of the iPad, although we found it also worked as an effective stand when clipped to the bottom of the tablet.
The problem, though, is that this means it rests on the same edge as the device's spring-loaded on/off button, so you have to be careful not to accidentally switch off the speaker.
It would be a great design refinement if Logitech changed this button to a slider switch or a recessed button so the speaker could be used as a stand without risking switching it off.
Out of the various travel speakers we've seen over the past couple of years, this is one of the best ones.
It's not overcomplicated -- it doesn't try to manage wireless streaming audio over Bluetooth (which inevitably seems to introduce problems), it has good battery capacity and the sound quality is certainly better than its $50 price tag would suggest!