Electric Friends Speaker Docking Station for iPhone is a cute, cartoony, way to charge and play music from your iPhone or iPod. I had a chance to try out the Sing Sing the Panda version, which is one of four animal friends available -- the others being Chew Chew the dog, Ki Ki the cat, and Kwack Kwack the duck. Yes, it really is like Kung Fu Panda cradling your iPhone.
Sing Sing, like all the animal friends, has a little back story to give her (or him if you prefer) some character:
Friends call this adorable Panda Sing Sing because you never know when this entertainer will break out in song. Sing Sing is definitely a panda bear full of surprises. At first his friends thought he was quit, but they quickly learned just how entertaining Sing Sing could be.
Each animal friend in the Electric Friends Speaker Docking Station line has two 5 watt, 40mm full range neodymium drivers powered by an AC adapter or 4 AA batteries. I'm not overly fond of the AA batteries. I prefer built-in, rechargeable batteries so I never have to worry about having AAs on hand if an when I run out. It can be nice to be able to run into a store and buy more batteries if you're traveling and can't get to an outlet to recharge, but if I'm traveling, I'm not taking a Panda with me...
The Electric Friends Speaker Docking Station sounds good but there is a little sound distortion at higher volumes. I absolute love, however, how you change the volume -- you tap Sing Sing on her ears. The left ear reduces the volume, the right ear increases it.
Also, Sing Sing's nose glows bright red to let you know when she's working, and they blink to let you know when she's recognizing commands, like the volume change tap.
The Dock is hidden beneath a little belly hatch. It's the standard 30-pin connector, of course, and it's fairly roomy. It's also fully removable, which I'm not very fond of, because I'll lose it. Once I've taken the hatch off the Electric Friends Speaker Docking Station, I'm going to put it down somewhere, and chances are it'll be long gone before I every even think about putting it back on.
There's also a 3.5mm AUX jack in the back so you can plug the Panda into the Matrix. No, not really. So you can plug in non-Apple devices if you so choose.
- Cute design
- Dock fits iPhone and a variety of iPods
- AUX connector for non-Apple devices
- Sound distorts at high volumes
- No built-in rechargeable battery
The bottom line
The Electric Friends Speaker Docking Station is a great change of pace from the usual, conservative, black and metal speaker docks. But that means that, while they'll appeal way more to some people, they won't appeal at all to others. If you're the type of person -- or you know the type of person -- who would love a cute panda, dog, cat, or duck on their bedside table, Sing Sing and her animal friends are a great option (especially if you can plug in it the wall and keep it plugged in the wall.)