If you're looking for a way to play your digital music library and enjoy it with others while on your travels, then using a set of portable speakers is a great solution. These can be useful for listening to digital music on your iPod, MP3 player, PMP, etc., without the need for earbuds which can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Not all portables have built-in speakers so buying an accessory for your portable such as this is a smart choice. If you are concerned about a child using earbuds for music, then speakers are a worthy investment.
1. iHome IHM79
The iHome IHM79 is a compact portable stereo system that packs away neatly for traveling -- the bases of the speakers are magnetic and so attach to each other to form a capsule shape. For maximum compatibility, the iHome IHM79 has a 3.5mm headphone jack that can be plugged into most MP3 players, PMPs, iPod, iPad, cellphones, laptops, etc. The speakers are powered by a built-in rechargeable Lithium Ion battery which can be recharged with the supplied 2 in 1 cable at the same time as listening to them. As an added bonus, these speakers also come with a carry case for that added protection while on the move.
The Cyber Acoustics CA-461 is a light-weight compact docking system that delivers great sound (3W total RMS) and is ideal for traveling -- unlike most standard docking systems for the home. It is compatible with most Apple iPods (check the Cyber Acoustics website) and other portable devices that have a 3.5mm headphone socket. If you've got an iPod, then this docking system will also charge it while connected. The Cyber Acoustics CA-461 is powered either via AC or with AA batteries for use where there are no power outlets. This system also comes with a travel pouch to keep it safe while you travel.
From the makers of professional studio monitors, comes the JBL On Stage Micro II Speaker System which has been designed specifically for listening to digital music at the highest quality possible. JBL say that this compact portable speaker system has been engineered to recreate the experience of listening to live sound -- hence its name. As well as AC power, the unit can also be powered by four AAA batteries for total portability and convenience. The provided USB cable can be used for charging and even syncing an iPod or iPhone with your iTunes library; you can also connect other portable devices to the JBL On Stage Micro II that use a 3.5mm headphone socket. If you're an audiophile wanting a portable speaker system that delivers music with a high level of detail, then the JBL On Stage Micro II Speaker System is worth a look.
If you're looking for a cheap and cheerful portable speaker system for any device that has a 3.5mm headphone socket, then the Philips SBA1600 is well worth a serious look. This super lightweight stereo system has a slimline design and therefore packs easily into a bag, suitcase, or even a pocket; the line-in cable also doubles as a lanyard so you can carry it around more securely. Even though this unit doesn't have a built-in rechargeable battery like other portable speakers (3 AAA's required), the reported battery life is impressive (up to 40 hours). On the sound performance side, the Philips SBA1600 has a digital amplifier that outputs a good level of sound; the unit also has built-in cellphone interference filtering to improve audio clarity. Overall, a good little performer considering its price.