iSonic 2

Review

posted 11/25/2008 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
One Page Platforms: AV
As gaming has evolved over the years, so has the quality of the video and the audio. Back when we were playing Pong on an old tube TV, pumping quarters into a coin-operated machine in an arcade or more recently, fragging your buddy half a continent away on your next-gen console, there has been a yearning for better and louder audio. Many gamers do not have dedicated home theater systems or gaming rooms at their disposal due to space constraints, so they are left to play in their bedroom, office or other common space with just the tiny speakers in the TV. This is where the iSonic 2 comes in handy, as it is a compact audio device that offers up big-time sound for a multitude of uses.

The Specs
Model Polk Audio iSonic SE 2
MSRP $499
Total Watts N/A
Freuency Range N/A
Control remote, On Chassis Command Center
Audio Inputs RCA Analog, iPod Port
Audio Outputs Headphone, RCA Analog
Video Outputs Composite, S-Video
Weight (lbs) 5.25 lbs
Dimensions 5" H x 14.3" W x 10" D
Warranty One Year Limited
Radio Presets 30 shared between AM/FM

Out of the Box
One constant I have seen from Polk Audio products is that they are very conscientious of the condition of their gear when it gets to a consumer and they pack it accordingly. The iSonic 2 was no exception, as I was greeted with a two-piece block of foam that completely encased the iSonic 2. The manual, registration card and two Polk Audio gear pamphlets are in a large envelope attached to the top of this foam block and will be the first thing you see when opening the sealed box. The unit itself was packed inside a normal plastic bag in the center of the foam. The remainder of the enclosed items included a separately boxed power supply (utilizing a beefy two-part plug), remote, iPod adapters and three antennas. Each had a custom spot where it was located within the confines of the foam to maximize protection of the components and efficient use of the box.


Aesthetics
The iSonic2 is an intriguing product to look at when it comes out of the box. It sports a wedge-shaped design that gives it a small footprint, enhances the audio output and creates a stylish look. The front of the unit features the main display area behind a glossy acrylic finish and the two front-firing speakers. The display is pitch black when not powered up, but is a vibrant blue and very easy to read from across a room when in operation. The five levels of brightness make an ideal night light based on how much you can take while sleeping. The only other things on the display are the product labels for Polk Audio, iSonic and HD Radio and a button marked “tag” that is used to tag HD radio songs that are automatically transferred to your iPod at the next docking and used to pull up the songs on iTiunes for purchase.

The back panel is fairly basic as it contains both AM and FM antenna connections, analog audio in and analog audio out, analog (RCA) and S-video outs, service port and power cord connection. One nice touch is that the panel is recessed a bit so that connecting wires do not protrude past the back of the chassis. The unit doesn’t really have “sides” due to the curved design, but there is nothing on either area except for the molded vents for the rear speakers. Flipping the unit over to look at the bottom, it is pretty basic with rubber feet, access panel, requisite warnings and labels and one small cloth covered mystery spot. This is the output for the PowerPort technology built into the iSonic that gives it that extra punch of bass.

The only concern I have with the case is the main display area, as it appears to pick up dust particles easily and may be susceptible to micro-scratches on the high-gloss surface. Regardless, the LCD itself is extremely bright (even on the lowest setting) which may render scratches and dust a moot point when the iSonic 2 is powered up. The design and appearance of the iSonic 2 is one of its best assets. The elegant curves, simple cloth grills and small footprint allow it to blend in well with the surroundings, yet its bright blue display reminds everyone that this is a high-quality electronics device.
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