i2i Stream, Folding Portable Speakers & AudioWear Lanyard Style Earphones Review

On January 14, 2009

I recently had the opportunity to review three offerings from i2i over on Gear Diary. I’m finding all three so useful (especially with the release of Slacker Radio) that I wanted to share the review here as well.



Prior to this review I was not familiar with the relatively new company i2i and their range of products.  I’m certainly glad to have had the chance to change that.

The company is best known for its flagship product, the Stream, so we’ll not only take a look at it, but two other solid offerings- the i2i Folding Portable Speakers and AudioWear Lanyard Style Earphones, as well. the three work together to create a nice, wireless system.





The i2i Stream


The Hype:

Introducing the new i2i Stream. Now you can stream HD-quality audio wirelessly. Create wireless headphones and listen to your favorite movie wirelessly. Make your computer a wireless jukebox by streaming to your home stereo. Your iPod/MP3 player becomes your wireless music remote control when broadcasting to your home entertainment system. However you enjoy your movies or music, the i2i Stream has your combination. The possibilities are endless.

HD-quality audio
Amazing quality that puts Bluetooth to shame.

Universally compatible
Works with any device with an audio source.

Sleek, compact size; designed to go wherever you go.
No messy wires. Wireless range is 30+ feet.
Broadcast from 7 colored channels.

The Reality:

The i2i Stream a simple, but effective, means to stream high-quality audio from a source such as a home stereo or an iPhone or iPod touch to a receiver, such as headphones or speakers system.


What’s in the box —

The system I looked at was a complete unit with two of everything so that there is a transmitter and a receiver. The package included

Two streams
2 12 inch audio cables
2 28 inch audio cables
Two neck lanyards
Two belt/pocket clips
A user guide.

In other words, right out of the box the stream is ready for use.

The specs
2.4 GHz Wireless Transceiver
HD Quality Audio (Uncompressed)
Wireless Range: 30+ Feet
Rechargeable Battery (Charge via USB Cable)
Battery Life: 5-7 Hours
Frequency Response: 10Hz-24kHz
Bit Rate: 48KHz / 16-bit Stereo
Audio Latency: < 20ms
SNR: > 75d
THD: 0.007%
# Stereo Separation: > 75dB

Thanks to the incredibly easy setup the good-looking system is clearly intended for the everyday consumer.  After fully charging the unit (which, at about 5-6 hours is rather long), the LED charging indicator turned off. (I love electronics offer a clear and easy to see way that it has reached full charging capacity.)


The unit itself is rather simple. It has only three main buttons on the top. One button tells the unit to send or broadcast a signal while a second button tells the unit to receive said signal. Because of this, each unit can function as either the transmitter or the receiver. This is a rather nice feature in my opinion. The center button it is used to choose the channel.

The units offer a total of seven different channels and each causes the middle button to glow a different color. In other words, in order to make sure that the transmitter and receiver are speaking to each other all the user needs to do is make sure that they’re showing the same color. (I love electronics that offers sophisticated processes but make setup and use simple.) The fourth and final control is found on the side. It’s used to power the device on and off and to control volume.

Using the units couldn’t be easier. I took one unit and plugged it into my iPod Touch using the 12 inch cable that was provided. I pressed the button at the top in order to tell it to stream the signal coming off of the iPod Touch. I took a second unit and plugged my headphones into it. (The plugs for steaming and receiving are different size so there is no confusion. Brilliant!) The bottom button in order to tell with this device to receive the signal. And then press the center button on both units until they were showing the same color. Within seconds of the music began to flow. It couldn’t be easier.

While that is well and good, the real proof of an item such as this is the quality of the sound. Fortunately that was covered as well. The sound was terrific and the signal was strong, at least it was until I got about 30 feet away from the touch and the unit that was transmitting.

This system retails for $119.95 which, for items such as this seems quite reasonable.

MSRP: $119.95
What I Like: They have a good, but not mind blowing, range; they are exceptionally easy-to-use; they are effectively universal and can work with just about any device to create a wireless bridge between the source and the receiver; they use a standard mini USB for charging

What Needs Improvement: While I believe they’re reasonably priced they are not inexpensive; charging takes a long time, and while the runtime is reasonable, it is not great

i2i Folding Portable Speakers


I’ve also been reviewing i2i’s new folding portable speakers. They’re so incredibly small that they are about the same height and width as my eye, and only about 50% deeper. They unfold to create their own stand, and the speakers are able to move far enough apart from one another  that they can be used with an iPod touch while in the case. They are not large enough however, to accommodate even the narrow part of the Nokia N810  with which I’ve been playing recently.The speakers are a nice way to have the ability to share your music or podcast matter where you might be.

The Hype:

Don’t let the miniature size of these speakers fool you. The sound quality of these babies is amazing. The i2i Folding Portable Speakers are compact, portable, battery-operated stereo speakers. Connect an i2i Stream to your home stereo system and another one to these portable speakers and viola! — instant remote speakers. Now you can listen to music in any room in the house or you can even take the party outside. Fold the i2i Folding Portable Speakers and place them in your pocket. Bring them with you wherever you go. Simply plug them into the headphone jack of your i2i Stream, iPod, MP3 player, or any other audio device.

The Reality:


What’s Inside The Box–

i2i Folding Portable Speakers
3.5 to 2.5 Converter Cable
4 AAA Batteries
Carrying Pouch

The system is incredibly small and light, making it possible to carry it with you wherever you go. They unfold to create a nice resting place for your iPod Nano, Classic, or Touch. A short 3.5 mm cord is safely stowed in the back of the unit, and it can easily be used to attach to whatever device you choose. Also in the back of the device is an on-off switch and a female receptor for a 5 V wall charger. Said wall charger is not, however, included with the unit; I don’t like that.


When the system is turned on, a bright blue light shines beneath the right side speaker. On the one hand I could see this being rather annoying late at night, but on the other hand it helps ensure that you don’t unnecessarily run down the batteries by accidentally leaving the unit on.

The speakers actually sounded much better than I expected. That isn’t to say that these are large surround sound speakers, they aren’t. But as far as having portable speakers with you wherever you go, they are certainly more than a bit usable. The unit uses a four AA batteries. The company claims that you can get over five hours of listening from a single set of four. This seems a rather low, and it strikes me that if you really uses the system seriously, then you’d better have rechargeable batteries available.

Final thought: these speakers are to win any awards for loudness or battery life but at $39.95 they are abundantly usable in a great way to guarantee the ability to listen to music without headphones to matter where you might go.

MSRP: At $39.95, they’re reasonably priced.

What I liked: A nicely designed, super compact system that unfolds into a very usable unit; the company includes a 3.5 mm to 2.5 mm converter so that it can be used with a wide variety of cell phones; the included carrying bag; sounds significantly better than what I expected from a unit is small

What needs improvement: This is definitely not an  "iPhone compatible" device (the GSM buzz was horrible when it was anywhere near my phone); the battery life is not great, and the company does not include an AC adapter. Hear that sucking sound? It’s your batteries and your wallet being bled dry.

AudioWearTM Lanyard-style Earphones


While I liked, but wasn’t blown away by the company’s speakers, I really do love their headphones. They sound good and had a design feature which is nothing short of fantastic.

The Hype:

i2i AudioWear Lanyard-style Earphones are lightweight, adjustable, and designed for personal comfort. Listen to quality audio while using your i2i Stream, iPod, iPhone, or other MP3 players.

* Noise isolation earphones
* Incredible audio quality
* One size fits all, and stays on while exercising
* Extension cable included to attach to iPods, iPhones, MP3 players, or any audio source with a 3.5mm headphone jack

The Reality:


The earbuds themselves are similar in style to many high-end headphones on the market. The inear buds sit comfortably in the ear canal, blocking outside noise and allowing you to listen to your music without distraction and without having to turn the volume up higher to block out the rest of the world. Overall I found these particular in earbuds to be about as comfortable as any I have worn.

They have an unusual design feature of which I immediately became a tremendous fan. The lanyard style means that the earbuds branch off of a closed circuit that comes together and meet in a "y"  at the 3.5 mm plug. An adjustment at the closed end of the neck loop allows you to lengthen or shorten the circle which surrounds your neck when wearing them. The net result of this style is that the earbuds themselves don’t carry any of the weight from the rest of the cord.  Instead, any stress or weight placed upon the cord itself by movement or by the device attached to the earbuds is transferred to the back of the neck.  The net result of this is that the earbuds feel much more secure in my ear than any other headphones I’ve used recently.


An even more unusual design feature is that the 3.5 mm plug is placed right where the two sides of the "y"  meet.  Ostensibly this is done so that the company’s i2i  receiver can be attached and sit comfortably while music is streamed to it. If you would rather use a corded solution, the company does include an extension cable which is made of the same high quality material.


All the joints where the various cables meet (often weak points in items such as this) are strengthened by metal connectors in order to absorb the stress that might be placed upon them.

In all, the headphone sound good in their own right and are certainly worth the $49.95 the company charges. Add to that the lanyard style design feature and you have what is, in my opinion, a terrific set of headphones and an incredibly reasonable price.

MSRP: $49.99

What I like: Very good sounding headphones that sit comfortably in the ear; reasonably priced for this quality of  earbud; made from high-quality materials; the wires used are heavy enough to avoid tangling yet light enough to remain comfortable; joints are strengthened by metal connectors to absorb the stress that might be placed upon them; I am completely sold on the lanyard style of these earbuds, and wish other companies would follow suit

What needs improvement: I’m not a huge fan of the company using the meeting point of the "Y"  as an advertising opportunities


Overall I’m very impressed by the offerings from the company and the value they provide. All three of the items are infinitely usable, and were crafted from high-quality materials by people with good design sense. While each of these three items stand on their own, when put together as a package they offer a complete system — all you need is any sort of iPod or other music player in order to listen to music anywhere, with the flexibility to share it when you choose, or listen privately when you don’t want to disturb others.

Special– Between now and March 31, however, the company is offering a free pair of portal speakers with every purchase period this makes a reasonable deal with even better.

Add to that the fact that if you’re willing to take a brief survey the company is now offering 10% off your order  and you’ve got an excellent deal.

You can find all these great products by visiting the i2i website.