Plenty of Input Options (with Remote)
Perhaps the one thing that impressed me the most about the iLuv i199BLK mini audio system (there is also the i199WHT in white, if you prefer) is the wide range of audio input options. While the main focus would be on the iPod dock, you can also pump out the tunes stored on a USB device or audio/MP3 CD, as well as just about any audio device via the 3.5mm auxiliary input jack. There is also the BluePin transmitter/receiver, which I’ll discuss in a moment.
This audio system from iLuv comes with a basic remote as well. You can use this for rudimentary controls, like power, volume, function, and track advancement. Strangely, it is not possible to fully control the iPod from either the remote or the system itself. You can’t navigate through the menus; you can only go forward and back in the current playlist.
Around the back, there is a standard 3.5mm output jack too. This allows you to output video from a 3rd-gen iPod nano, for example, to a television. Unfortunately, it can only do this through a composite connection. There is no option for component, S-Video, or other connections more high quality connection.
BluePin Bluetooth Wireless Transmitter and Receiver
If you want to cut some cables, you’ll be glad to hear that the iLuv i199BLK comes bundled with the BluePin audio transmitter/receiver with Bluetooth wireless technology. This small dongle plugs into a slot next to the iPod dock and allows you to mate the speaker dock with any stereo Bluetooth device. As mentioned though, iPods and iPhones don’t possess this functionality, so it’s kind of weird to see it on an iPod-centric product.
The Bluetooth connection can work two ways, but only one at a time. You can use it to transmit the audio signal to a set of Bluetooth headphones, or you can use it to receive an audio signal from a Bluetooth music phone or some other Bluetooth stereo audio device. You choose between the two modes with a simple RX/TX switch on the side of the BluePin. Mating is done through the single button on the front.
When you are in receiver mode, it is possible to stream music from any stereo Bluetooth source. If you happen to have a Sony Walkman cell phone, for example, you can send that music over to the iLuv i199BLK via a Bluetooth connection. The same can be achieved from a Bluetooth laptop. When you are in transmission mode, you can send the music being played on the iLuv to another Bluetooth device, like a set of stereo Bluetooth headphones. If you have Bluetooth speakers somewhere, those would work too. We took a set of iLuv’s own Bluetooth Backphones (which we’ll be reviewing a bit later) for a spin to check this functionality out and came away quite pleased with the convenience and ease of set up.
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