Review: iMainGo2 Rocks the House, or at Least a Mid-Sized Room - Macenstein

Review: iMainGo2 Rocks the House, or at Least a Mid-Sized Room

I’m constantly amazed by how many people I run into who listen to music on their iPhones using the built-in speakers. Sure, the iPhone’s ear buds are nothing to write home about, but they’re certainly a step up from the tinny sound delivered by the speakerphone. Still, I know there are some who prefer to not be tethered to their phones when listening to their tunes, and you can’t exactly carry around a Bose Sound Dock with you everywhere you go either. Well Portable Sound Laboratories has a pretty good compromise between big sound and portability with their iMainGo2 speakers.


The iMainGo2 has a somewhat unique design in the world of portable iPhone speakers. It is a combination speaker and case, although admittedly a much bigger case than most of us are used to. While the iMainGo2 adds a good deal of physical bulk to your phone (or iPod touch), it only adds 9 oz and a whole lot of sound.

Loading your iPhone into the iMain2Go is a a little more trouble than your average travel speaker. First you must unzip the case, remove a foam insert and back plate, connect your device’s headphone jack to the iMainGo’s stereo mini jack, plop your device face-down into the see-thru compartment, reinsert the foam pad and back plate, fasten the velcro strap to secure your device in place, re-zip the whole thing up, and then you’re good to go. There’s a clear plastic heat-sensitive window on the front of the speaker which allows you to still have full access to the iPhone’s touch screen (or even click wheel, if you’re still rocking a click wheel iPod). The case is padded and will certainly keep your iPhone safe in the event of any type of fall, although you’re not really supposed to be going jogging with it.

On the back of the device you’ll see the actual speaker holes which are responsible for some pretty sweet sound (we’ll get to that in a minute). Power is provided via 4 AAA batteries (included) which last very close to 30 hours, and a power switch with ON/Off and Alarm settings is accessed via the inside of the case (yes, you must unzip to turn it off). I won’t say the iMainGo2 is the most beautiful speaker in the world, but I’ve seen far worse.

Above: If you want to benefit from the iMainGo2’s sound but don’t want your iPhone isolated behind the bubbly plastic, the stereo mini cord can still be used for gaming and such.


The iMainGo2 is actually fairly basic, and looking at the device you can get a pretty idea of what t expect, although it does have a couple nice features. First is that touch-sensitive plastic window which allows your fingers to control your iPhone. We had an issue with this we’ll address later, but all in all it is a really nice feature which allows you to keep from having to remove the iPhone to something simple like changing songs or adjusting the volume. Another nice touch is the “Alarm” feature. Flip the power switch to Alarm, set your iPhone to wake to your favorite song (via something like Alarm Clock Pro) and you can start your day with sound so impressive you (almost) won’t mind getting up.


Speaking of sound, while the design of the iMainGo2 has both pluses and minuses going for it, the sound is all pluses. In their promo materials Portable Sound Laboratories claims the iMainGo2 has been likened to Bose systems costing hundreds more, and while I might not put it quite there, it is really surprisingly close given the size, portability, and weight of the unit (not to mention the thing costs only 40 bucks!). Bass actually booms, and all genres of music come across surprisingly clear and crisp. Sound quality does vary widely depending on where you sit in relation to the iMainGo2, and as you might expect a direct line of “sight” from the speaker is ideal. Still, it really CAN fill a mid-sized room with non-embarrasing audio, and even held up well on a fairly noisy beach in our tests (although we should note that while it was nice to have the iPhone protected from the sand and wet fingers of our beach goers, we did have a bit of fear that sand would get into the speaker ports on the rear of the unit, so be careful if you plan to take it into the great outdoors).

Above: You can see the touch-screen plastic is not a smooth as it could be, somewhat ruling out serious video game playing while the iPhone is in the iMainGo2

All in all, when you factor in size, prize, and portability, you are going to be hard pressed to find something to gripe about in the audio department.


I like the iMainGo2 so much that virtually all my issues with it stem from my selfish desire for it to do more than it does. Watching video on the iPhone is suddenly a MUCH more enjoyable experience with the vastly improved sound – explosions actually BOOM again – but some design touches would have made the iMainGo2 even more enjoyable. First up, because the speaker is on the opposite side of the device as the iPhone’s screen, to really enjoy a movie you need to unzip the case and fold it up into an “L” shape so both the screen and speaker are pointed toward you. It would have been great if the speaker could somehow hold this position for you, either with a lock, a kick stand, or just a strap that you would sort of band around one edge to hold it in position. In fact, even for straight audio listening, the iMainGo2 doesn’t have a great way to stand up, as the zipper makes balancing the speaker a little tricky, especially outdoors. Some sort of Kickstand should be at the top of the list on the next revision.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s a little time consuming to get your iPhone properly situated in the iMainGo2, and it’s equally hard to get it out. So if you should happen to get a phone call while using the iMainGo2, odds are you won’t be able to answer it.

My only other complaint has to do with the clear screen protector. While it works well and allows your finger to control the touch screen display of your iPhone or iPod, it is not stretched as tightly as it should be – kind of like a bump you can get when you have your carpet installed by Home Depot (speaking from experience here). So while sliding volume sliders and opening apps will not be a problem, don’t expect to be playing any fast finger games when your device is in the iMainGo2. Another minor complaint about the touchscreen-only interface is that if you ARE trying to play a game, or some other app with sound, odds are you will NOT be able to adjust the volume, and you have no access to the physical volume buttons, only touch screen volume adjustment, which is not often found in games.

Still, this is me complaining about the iMain2Go not being able to do things it was not really designed to do. Basically it is a music player, plain and simple, and it excels at that. The iPod app, most music apps, and most video apps for that matter all will work great with the iMainGo2’s volume control scheme.


Anyone looking for big sound in a portable iPhone speaker should definitely check out the iMain2Go. The unique design protects your iPhone from drops as well as the elements, and the sound is easily the best we’ve heard at this price, and actually, the best we’ve heard within $50 of this this price. Getting your iPhone or iPod in and out of the iMainGo2 isn’t as seamless as one might hope, but the design does allow for it to work with a wide range of devices. A couple extra design touches geared toward hands-free viewing/audio listening would be nice, but comes iMainGo2 is still highly recommended.

Price: $39.95
Pros: Truly impressive sound, long battery life, access to iPhone’s touch screen, cheap
Cons: A little hard to get your device in an out of the device, missing a kickstand or other type of support.

2 Responses to “Review: iMainGo2 Rocks the House, or at Least a Mid-Sized Room”
  1. Greg says:

    PYROMANIA! Hell yes!
    fu fu fu foooolin’

  2. quinton says:


Leave A Comment


Click here to inquire about making a fortune by advertising your game, gadget, or site on Macenstein.