A few years ago, there was a company caled ellula that marketed a nice set of inflatable speakers for portable use. The company has ceased to exist quite some time ago, but-luckily-TamsPalm was capable to find a cooperative distributor that had enough stock and wanted to have the boxen reviewed-its ThinkGeek.
Anyways, the boxen shipped from the US in a huge crate that contained a bit of ThinkGeek advertising:

thinkgeekbox Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct) thinkgeekad Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)
The boxen themselves are packed up carefully:
packfront Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct) packback Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)
inpack0 Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct) inpack Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)
For sure a lot of packaging. However, there is more in the box then just the speakers. You get a nice little 5W/channel amplifier that is powered by either a power cord(120V AC to 9V DC with a standard plug, so useless for me as an Austrian) or 6 AA batteries(the battery box can be removed). However, one can also use the power cord that shipped with older Palm handhelds(the one that connects to the cradle). The little machine weighs approximately 100g(measured with a standard kitchen scale) without the battery box that can be removed from its bottom. It has little knobs on its bottom that hold it on its place, however, these go of pretty fast. BTW, the input is a standard 3.5″ headphone jack that worked with my Tungsten T3-the cable is approximately 140cm long:

amptop Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct) ampside Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)

The speakers themselves are easy to inflate if you abide to the instructions provided. You need to squeeze the vent to open the air path. One of the boxen weighs approximately 200 grams and has a 140 cm long cable that ends in a 3.5 mono jack. BTW, the speaker is about 22cm high in inflated state:

boxfront Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct) airintake Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)

boxtop Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct) boxbottom Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)

boxsizetop Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct) boxsizeside Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)

You can power the amplifier on the go using a battery box that can be mounted below it and uses 6 AA batteries. I can personally reccommend AccuPower rechargeable NiMH batteries as they are extremely reliable if charged properly and also allow for long operation times:

batbox Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)
There also is a carrying bag and a vinyl repair kit included.

bag Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct) vinylrepair Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)

The sound quality of the boxen, um… . They sound different(higher) than the Sigma AX6903 boxen shipped with my workstation. But-dont be fooled! My Quakesounds, telephone terrors, podcasts and music all sound enjoyable. The speakers offer stereo and are much louder than my T3. They may not be able to compete with Altec Lansing or Bang&Olufsen stuff, but the tones aren’t bad here. This image shows the boxen in action:

t3action Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)

I have carried those boxen with me for quite some time and inflated/deflated them often. It looks as there are no reliability problems!

A little usage hint last: if you use RealOne on the handheld, set it up to about 50% of the maximal volume. RealOne seems to digitally enhance the sound if the volume is set above 50%-and this disturbs the amplifier. And, of course, volume boosts in other player software arent really helpful either!

So, to cut a long story short: this is a funky accessoire for handhelds that have a 3.5 stereo jack. The whole set weighs about 600 grams in its carrying bag and looks unconventional. The sound it emits is of decent quality and can be pretty loud. Long cables make positioning the speakers in a room an easy task. ThinkGeeks 39.99$ price isnt really expensive, because the set works fine for more than one handheld generation as it does not rely on proprietary connectors like some other audio solutions for T5/Treo 650 do. If you use your handheld at the same place for extended periods of time and want to boost your internal speaker, get these while supplies last…

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4 Responses to “Review: Inflatable speakers by Ellula (now defunct)”

  1. That is great. Thank you for sharing.

  2. thats a pretty nifty little set of speakers there. Looks like they are perfect to take to the beach or camping. Any word yet on how they hold up to the constant inflating and deflating?

    mike

  3. Hi,
    I’ve used mine quite a bit and had no issues.

    However, I don’t think that they are sandproof…

    All the best
    Tam Hanna

  4. What a weird way to build a speaker!

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