Sony’s latest iPod boombox, the ZSS4IP,has been unleashed on our shores, and here’s the hands on review.
The first thing you have to contend with, if you're an iPhone or iPod Touch user, is swapping out the dock ‘window’ frame. The boomer ships with the Plexiglas dock frame installed, swapping this frame for the frame without the glass allows for direct touch control.A retractable latch holds the frame in place; simply depress the small panel release buttons (these are really tiny) and the dock frame releases. Next is getting your iPod docked. To be honest, this took me a few tries. The way you have to load the iPod makes it difficult to see the actual connector and lining it up with the super thin end of a Touch is tricky.A cutout in the frame gives you access to the ‘home’ button, this is slightly awkward and it was at this point I started thinking the gimmick of the tape deck-like dock, outweighed its usefulness. On the other hand, it is still a very desirable feature if you plan on going mobile with the blaster. With the iPod securely held in place, music lovers can hit the streets with the reassurance that their iPod won’t fall from its perch.The LCD is mounted facing front, just above the dock, a configuration that makes it ideal for a bookshelf or nightstand. And, because the touch controls will likely be used most frequently, this placement only makes sense. Of course, all music can be controlled by the remote, too.
Power output is four watts. The up side to limited power consumption is extended battery life. And, while this might not seem like a lot of power, in the hands of Sony engineers it’s plenty of power to provide punchy sound. I listened to several songs from different genres while testing the ZS-S4ip and found the Megabass gave you that kick in the back that only hard-hitting bass can delivery. Technologies such as reflex cambers and bass boost have all but been perfected by Sony, and the latest iPod blaster dips into a Sony’s large well of sound engineer knowledge.This type of stereo would be perfect for college student returning for the grueling 2nd semester, small apartment dwellers, or for those that just need a bit of portable sound in their lives. I’m thinking about strapping one onto my handlebars, and hooking the power up to a Hymini wind generator. Party on.