Friday, December 17, 2010

Product Review - Logitech S125i

The Logitech S125i - Portable iPod Dock with Speakers

Logitech are well known (in Geekland), for their computer peripheral products such as, mice, keyboards, speakers, web cameras, remote controls,
and VOIP headsets.

On to the S125i, this is known as an iPod Dock or iPod Portable Speakers.

The fact is the S125i is a Portable iPod Dock with Speakers.
It's powered by AC or batteries, that's the Portable part.
The S125i will charge an iPod device, that's the Dock part.
And also play music through the speakers.
To connect non iPod devices there's a line-in port, a lead is not included.

I have a Sandisk Sansa MP3 player, the e260, so I use a lead to connect to the line-in port.

The S125i has 4 buttons:
a power on/off (with a green backlight when on),
a minus volume,
a plus volume, and
a bass boost.

There's 3 connections to the S125i:
an iPod dock,
a power socket, and
a line-in socket (3.5mm).

The flat base of the S125i has a compartment for the 4 AA batteries.

So, a nice simple design, well built, quality parts.

I bought the S125i for the portability, but also because of the AA batteries. Built-in batteries will discharge eventually and the device will be landfill. Bad.
I use rechargable 'Ready To Use' NiMH AA batteries.

I first noticed the Logitech S125i, in a local shopping centre, one of those places that is a carpark with some big electronic stores surrounding it.

It was $69 in one shop, and $68 in another. The recommended retail price is $69.95. I went home and researched it on the web a little.
The next time I was there it was $48 in one shop. I didn't check the rest. I thought next time I'm here will buy one.
When I returned, it had dropped from $48 to $29. I thought "they can't get much cheaper than that". So I bought one.
The next time, it was still $29 in the same shop, but also $30 in another. There was a 'price war' going on.
I checked again another time and prices were steady. I never saw it go lower than $29. I saved $40. Weird.

So, I started using the S125i and loved it. I could carry it around the house easily.
I was leaving home for a few months at least soon, so I wanted to be able to take it with me as my personal stereo.
I took it along on my trip and it was great.
But, suddenly it stopped. It powered itself off. The batteries were recently charged so I thought uh-oh.
I turned the S125i back on and it played on. Strange.
As the trip continued this happened more often until on my return I took it back to the shop and got a replacement.
The same thing happened again. What?
So I did some research on the web and found other cases of the same thing occuring but with other Logitech speakers.
The plot thickens.
Next I contacted Logitech Support. They said:

The S125i speaker has a power saving mode. This product will automatically turns itself off when there is no sound signal coming from the music source.
This feature is designed to conserve battery life.
As a workaround for this issue, I would suggest to turn the volume on your MP3 player on the highest level so that the speaker will easily detect the audio signal coming from it.

My Sansa e260 has two volume settings: Normal, and Loud. It was already set at Loud, so I put the player's volume to the maximum.
The S125i still turned itself off. At this point I gave up and just used the power lead all the time.
About four months later I did some more research on the web about the S125i and it's auto shutoff feature.
In a review for another Logitech speaker I noticed it mentioned that the auto shutoff feature was based on 2 minutes of less than 75% volume.
I was curious to see if the S125i did the same.
So I put the batteries in and set the Sansa e260 to Loud and maximum volume.
The S125i has not auto shut off since....So I must have made a mistake the first time I guess.
Maybe the speaker volume was set too low, even with the Sansa e260 at maximum.

So in the end, I am happy with these little speakers. The only downside is having to charge the Sansa e260 manually.
If you had an iPod you would be set. Plug it in, set it to high, and forget it.