Review: DLO Portable Speakers for iPhone - Macenstein

Review: DLO Portable Speakers for iPhone

Apparently the magic number for accessory manufacturers is 5 million. As the iPhone quickly approaches this sales milestone, we’ve suddenly encountered an influx of iPhone-specific add-ons designed to help the iPhone realize its true potential. Since the iPhone was originally billed as a 3-in-one device, and one of those devices is an iPod, it only stands to reason that many of these accessories would be audio-related.

Egg-shaped audio

DLO’s Portable Speakers for iPhone are one of those unusually designed accessories that at first makes you wonder if the unique industrial design is perhaps intended to distract from a less-than-impressive end user experience. Luckily that is not the case here, as DLO’s egg-shaped speakers deliver every cent of the $50-worth of audio you paid for, and then some.

Unique design

The speakers are billed as portable, and this is largely due to their size when compacted, which is roughly the size of a softball. These speakers, despite their size, have some real weight, which is good thing for sound, if not portability. When compared to more “traditionally shaped” portable speakers, the round form factor makes the DLO’s a little bulky when thrown in a medium-sized laptop bag. Unfortunately they do not ship with a carrying case of any kind to hold the AC plug, cradle, and included adapter. Perhaps DLO figures if you are traveling with them you will be relying on the batteries instead of the power plug, but the cradle is still needed to video viewing, and for extended trips, the power cord would be useful.

The speaker system ships in four main parts; a central base, a left and right speaker, and a removable, rotating stand/cradle which can support your iPhone or iPod touch in both vertical or horizontal “movie watching” orientations. Despite the naming, there is not much particularly “iPhone-specific” about these speakers, and they are compatible with all models of iPod, laptops, or anything with a headphone jack really. There is no dock connector to be found – audio is handled by a standard 3.5 ” mini stereo jack. The only bit of true iPhone-centricness comes in the form of the cord that comes with the system which ends in an iPhone compatible plug (meaning it can connect to the iPhone’s recessed headset jack without an adapter). In order to connect to an iPod touch or other iPod, DLO includes an iPhone-headphone jack-to-standard-mini-stereo adapter. That also means all you Zune and Sansa owners can enjoy the soothing sounds of egg-shaped audio as well.

When in “travel mode”, the two satellite speakers connect to the base by pushing them up underneath a rubber membrane that runs along either side of the base. This actually works quite well, and I was never worried the speakers would separate accidentally. Cord management is also handled by this rubber seal, and a central groove can hide all three cords (left, right, and audio input), although not nearly as neatly or easily as the cleverly arranged pictures would lead you to believe. Also, there is no mention of what you are supposed to do with the iPhone stand when the device is folded up.

The cords on the satellites are a good length, about 3 feet, which allows for a good six-feet of audio separation during playback. A minor gripe I have about these cords, however is that they are all attached at one end, meaning the audio-in jack is connected to the base, and the speaker cords are fastened to each speaker. I assume this is meant to minimize cords being lost during traveling, but I always fear that over time built-in chords tend to crap out due to unintentional pulls and such. I would have liked to see at least the audio-in cord, if not the speaker cords, have removable connectors at each end.


The DLO’s Portable Speakers for iPhone can be powered by both an included AC adapter, or by 4 AAA batteries. You can expect a few days worth of standard playtime (i consider that 6-10 hours a day) from 4 AAA’s. The AC adapter is not huge, but again, is just one more thing to keep track of when traveling, and a carrying bag/case of some kind would have been appreciated. Something to keep in mind is that since there is no dock connector, you will not be able to use these speakers to charge your iPhone/touch even when plugged in.


I was very impressed with the sound quality given the size and price of the speakers. Overall the sound is a bit bright, and falls squarely in the mid-range for most music types – but this is to be expected. As far as travel speakers go, these deliver the goods. Audio can get reasonably loud – enough to fill a hotel room or small office – without distortion, and while there is no dedicated subwoofer, the speakers do an admirable job of handling bass duties thanks to the bass vents on the rear of the speakers. For best sound, these should be placed on a hard level surface, so the bass has something to bounce off of. I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking these will replace a good set of desktop speakers, but for $50, and given their portable nature, they do a very nice job.

One of the nicest things about DLO Portable Speakers for iPhone is that they are shielded in such a way that they block out interference caused by the iPhone. This is actually an awesome feature. iPhone interference is something most iPhone users have run into when using their iPhones with other devices made for iPods. It also means you do not have to put your iPhone into “Airplane mode” when listening to music, and you are free to receive and make calls. DLO claims you can actually use the speakers to serve as speaker phone speakers during a call, but this is not really the case, and brings me to my one major gripe about the speakers…


Aside from the missing carrying case, the only thing I really found to be an issue with the iPhone speakers is that despite DLO’s claims tat they will “Also turn your iPhone into a speaker phone “, leaving them plugged in when answering a phone call does not provide a great speaker phone experience. While the person you are talking to will come through loud and clear on your end, they will hear themselves speaking with a 1 second delay as the iPhone’s mic picks up the audio from the speakers, and this will annoy the hell out of them. So don’t buy these speakers with the expectation that you will finally be able to jack up the iPhone’s horrible built-in speaker phone.


The DLO Portable Speakers for iPhone are very nice sounding travel speakers for the money. Their unique design aids in cord management during travel, and the ability to run off both AC or battery power is something travelers will appreciate. Despite their name, the speakers are not tied to the iPhone, and can be used with pretty much any audio device out there. These are not replacement desktop speakers, but they are a huge step up from the built-in speakers found in the iPhone and MacBook.

Price: $49.99
Pros: Greeat sound for size/price, unique, portable design manages cords, runs off AC or batteries
Cons: No carrying case to help with AC adapter, cradle, and adapters when traveling, does not work great as a speaker phone substitute

3 Responses to “Review: DLO Portable Speakers for iPhone”
  1. Killer's Dad says:

    That dang ol’ computin’ machin’ ain’t got no spellin’ and gram-mer checkin’ de-vice?

  2. Jonro says:

    I like these and could see buying them for travel. Too bad it doesn’t have a quality speaker phone or a dock connector to recharge an iPod while playing. They will probably be available for $20 from in 4 or 5 months.

  3. Gil says:

    Those look cool. I wish Apple spent more time putting quality speakers in their laptops though.

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