iRhythms A491

The iRhythms A491 are a more affordable set, costing £50 - half the price of the Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere set. They are more compact and slightly lighter at 710g. That lightness however means they don't have the quality feel of the Logitech's that are only 24g heavier. A carry bag is provided, but it's not quite as impressive as the hard case that comes with the Logitech's.

The speakers are a touch smarter than the CA641 set I reviewed over a year ago, with the thin black speaker grille material covering the whole of the front, underneath which you can see two drivers for each speaker. The top and rear of the speakers are encased in silver plastic.

As is traditional for iRhythms the dock sits in front, with the usual selection of adaptors included so you can attach older iPods. A green light is present on the corner to show when it's plugged in and one on the right lights up blue when it's powered on. Down the right hand side is a power button, but in fact this just puts it into standby, whereupon the light changes to red. This mode will drain the battery though so if it's not plugged in and there's little power it will eventually drain it fully. There's a full on/off power switch at the rear to avoid this.

The great thing about this version over the previous one is that it's got a built in rechargeable batteries. You can open up the battery compartment at the rear, and there you'll find a battery pack that clearly contains four AA rechargables, though it's not possible to see if they are NiMh or NiCad. Either way, these are wired in by a proprietary connector so you can't replace them, should they ever start to run out of staying power.

Volume controls are located next to the power switch on the right hand side, and naturally there's a remote control that gives you basic, Play/Pause, Skip and a standby power switch.

At the rear you'll find holes for attaching a supplied bracket, making it easy to wall mount - a nice touch. This wall mounting is why the ports at the back are located on a rotating central piece - so that they can point down and still be accessible. Good thinking Batman. The connectors are the aforementioned power switch, the power connector, the auxiliary line in, with a cable supplied, and interestingly, an S-Video out, so you can watch your iPod videos on the big screen. This worked very nicely indeed, with the picture coming up without fuss and the audio coming through the iRhythms speakers.

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