Summer's officially here, which means we should be getting ready to chill out in the garden, burnt hot dog in hand, watching the sun set on a balmy summer evening - though in reality most of us are sat inside, Pot Noodle in hand, watching the football while the rain beats against the window.
But should you be lucky enough to sneak in a quick barbeque during our usual few hours of summer sunshine, Grundig has launched the perfect gizmo to make your garden party go with a swing. The GUSBOM08WHT, or the much catchier Emanate, is a portable speaker system with a built-in universal iPod dock, which you can pick up, plonk in the garden and enjoy hours of music.
Unpacking the unit from the box, the first thing that strikes us is the incredibly sturdy build quality. This is no real surprise for a unit designed to withstand the rigours of a boozed-up barbeque, but the level of robustness that Grundig has achieved is hugely impressive. It's also splash-resistant, which explains the sealed construction and use of rubber buttons and covers.
The design is striking, sporting a shape that resembles a bucket, particularly with the flip-up handle that arcs over the top. It's available in black or white, but for our money the white review sample we looked at is the more stylish of the two and cleverly compliments Apple's classic iPod styling.
All the way round the unit is the grille for the integrated full-range stereo speakers, and on top you'll find a circular see-though plastic cover that twists off to reveal a compartment into which your iPod snuggles cosily. Within this pit is a comically large dial that alters the position of the connection pin depending on which type of iPod you want to attach - the unit accepts Touch, Classic, Nano and Mini. In the box are three Dock Adapters for the first, second and third generation Nanos and the Mini, which are styled to match the rest of the unit.
Surrounding the panel are rubber volume, power, playback and iPod menu controls, and on the rear is a small recessed area that houses a 3.5mm auxiliary input that enables you to play other MP3 players though the unit using the supplied cable. Alongside this is a matching output, reset button and the DC adapter socket.
You'll need the latter socket either to run it off the mains or charge the built-in battery, which offers around eight hours of continuous playback (roughly the same amount of hot weather we'll probably get this year) after charging for around five hours. When connected to the mains, the unit also charges your iPod as it sits in the dock.
Also in the box is a remote control that repeats the keys found on top of the unit (also made from chunky, robust rubber) and its pleasingly compact shape allows you to pop it in your pocket while you cremate the burgers.