In a perfect world, every day is sunny and clear, and you stroll down the avenue with your favorite music downloads from the iTunes Music Store playing out loud on the carrying case that contains your supercharged PowerBook. This laptop bag would fit you and your iPod perfectly, with effortless audio component connection and playback.
Is such a scenario possible? Techwiz thinks they have a solution, in their MUSAK Laptop Bag for iPod. In our perfect world, this product would either cost a lot less $$$, or be much easier to use for iPod playback (preferably the latter). MUSAK is a brilliant concept, with flaws in quality of construction.
You place your iPod (any model, specified when you order), inside a soft holder below one upper corner of the case, insert four AA batteries into a power module, make sure two short cables are connected, switch on the power unit, adjust the volume, and listen to your iPod while strolling, commuting, biking, and anywhere you won’t get kicked out for vagrancy.
Problems occur from the start, because MUSAK’s form-fitting iPod holder is poorly manufactured. It needs to be either a different material or more precisely sewn, because I was worried I was going to tear it each time I had to insert or remove my third generation iPod from the holder. Once in place, the fit is uneven and imprecise.
Access to the power module is tricky, and need not be. Message to company: switching from zipper to Velcro, and changing the pouch concept into a folding flap, will allow users to have immediate entry for battery replacement, power on/off, and volume settings. The current lone zipper is a loser.
After wrestling with the aforementioned annoyances, once your iPod is playing and your MUSAK case is loaded, the experience is more positive. Design and construction of the physical computer case components are fine, and will serve you well for years. Compartments and pockets are ample and numerous. The detachable shoulder strap is comfortably fit and padded, and the case is contoured for a snug fit on your flank.
MUSAK is a novelty item, in its current production model and rather high price. If the cost was under $70, I wouldn’t complain so much about the faults, but for $99 we should expect better awareness of using and gaining access to the audio/power components.
Audio quality is decent, meaning neither sensational nor awful, and perfectly adequate for casual listening to music or the MyMac.com Podcast.
Our rating for MUSAK places emphasis on its primary reason for existence: convenient iPod connection and playback. When you consider the criteria for our MyMac.com rating system, the audio components and access are:
MyMac Rating: 2 = Poor. Needs much more work and improvement.
and the physical case would be closer to:
MyMac Rating: 3 = Shows promise! Could be better, but a product worth watching
but since its price is high and the critical components are not well-manufactured, we’ll stick with a MyMac.com rating of 2 out of 5.
Please go back to the drawing board, Techwiz and Dr. Bott, and we’ll be open-minded in our evaluation of MUSAK v.2.