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Its compact size makes the iPal an excellent MP3 player companion.
The iPal's single rotary dial handles tuning for both AM and FM stations. Testers didn't expect to have much to say about something as mundane as a radio tuning dial, but the iPal's is truly unique. The dial is designed to move between stations at a speed that's a bit slower than the speed at which the user turns the knob. We found that this ratio dialing technique makes it far easier to tune stations accurately and quickly. Little touches like this really set Tivoli products apart.
The iPal's radio tuning ratio dial is smooth and accurate.
The back of the unit sports a telescoping antenna that has the solid, metal construction reminiscent of older transistor radio antennae. A standard 3.5-millimeter headphone jack is provided here, as is a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary line-in port for plugging in your iPod or other music device. A port for AC/DC power and battery charging is also present. All the ports feature handy, attached rubber plugs that keep out the elements when they're not in use.
The base of the iPal houses a rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery pack that, when fully charged, delivered a respectable four hours of listening at moderate volume levels. The iPal's rechargeable batteries give it a leg up on many other portable speaker solutions; gone are the days of hauling around an armada of disposables. Tivoli claims that the battery pack does not suffer from the dreaded memory effects that afflict other types of rechargeable batteries.
At first, we were skeptical about the performance of a small, one-speaker unit that offers only monaural sound. The reality is that most small, portable two-speaker systems don't allow you to place the speakers very far apart anyway, and the iPal's rich, resonant sound more than made up for its lack of true stereo separation. Plus, the iPal is an elegant box with no cumbersome speaker cords to fuss with when you're entertaining on the go.
We plugged the iPal into the kinds of audio devices folks tend to use these days--an iPod, a laptop and a portable CD player. We came away impressed with the iPal's performance with all three. Highs were crisp and clean, while mids and lows were accurate, with a fullness that surprised us. "Could this kind of sound really be coming from this little box?" we asked. When we really pumped up the volume, there was noticeable distortion, but at normal to high volume levels, the iPal excelled. For casual listening, indoors or out, the iPal is a great way to let others hear that iPod library you've been slaving away to build.
We were also pleased by the iPal's tuning accuracy. Tivoli says this is the result of the unit's automatic frequency control (AFC) technology. Whatever witchcraft is behind this tuner, we were impressed. Tivoli adds that the iPal can be used as a component tuner via the headphone-out port--not a bad idea given its quality and accuracy. --Joshua Gunn
I have had two in europe for years , they were perfect this one however gradually looses fm band stations , you have to readjust every 15 - 20 min. Read morePublished 1 month ago by William Lütken
I bought this after reading about it in a magazine. Love the design (got white which blends into my kitchen but really wanted the cobalt blue which wasn't available ). Read morePublished 3 months ago by moose
Tivoli Audio refuses to fix out of warranty radios. Wish I would have known about this before I bought one.Published 6 months ago by mr. greives
I use this radio daily. It's true lay fantastic. The battery last a long time. I charge it about once a week. I also plug my iPhone and iPad into it for that great full sound. Read morePublished 6 months ago by S. Snider
I saw some bad reviews and had to jump in. I've had my Tivoli since 2002-- 12 years. It looks new. It's the only radio in the house I can depend on the AM working. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Peter J.
The unit had really amazing sound for such a compact package. My partner wanted it it for her kitchen countertop, so space was at a premium. Read morePublished 8 months ago by R. P. Mason
Good sound but unlike the table radio from Tivoli the radio reception is just so so. And the extendable antenna, not shown in photos, really messes with the whole small sleek... Read morePublished 8 months ago by KC Bitterman
I have had three of these, two of which broke after 3 - 4 years of use, so there is a significant quality issue for something at this price level, and throughout the Tivoli line. Read morePublished 8 months ago by John F Dickens
A coworker has a vintage papertrapper with a tiny fm radio built into the front, and it blows the tivoli away. I must have gotten a defective unit. Read morePublished 8 months ago by JR