The Video-55 iPod video dock from Sonic Impact is clamshell style dock for your iPod. The Video-55 dock features a seven inch widescreen that looks pretty good. The device has a battery that is rated at about four hours. I have not yet tested this claim, but it will be when my family goes to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The device is not light, it weighs about three pounds, though there is no official weight printed on the box or in the manual. It features a touch panel with controls for power, menu, up and down, plus and minus. The plus, minus, up and down controls take on different meanings, depending on what you are doing. While watching/listening, the plus and minus are your volume control. When the menu is active, up and down let you navigate the options while plus and minus toggle the values.
There are two basic input modes: iPod and external source. There is a mini-plug for a/v in and a/v out as well as a mini plug for headphone out. In addition, there is also a plug for the ac power adapter. Sonic Impact was generous with the accessories as they include an a/v in (or out) adaptor that allows you to use standard RCA style cables for video and stereo audio. As is standard, if your external source is mono, plug the audio into the left channel connector (white.) Video out from the device has a resolution of 480 by 234 and is 16:9 (as is the screen.)
Of course, there is also an iPod connector, located in the center of the device. It is compatible with most iPod’s. BUT….and this is a big but….video out on the latest generation of iPod’s including the 3g Nano, iPod Classic, iPhone/iPod Touch is disable through the connecter BY APPLE. APPLE now feels that you should buy products that feature an ‘authentication’ chip in order to do what the older iPod’s did from both the headphone jack and the thirty pin connector: show video. I can live without the headphone jack, though it was a bummer as I already had several cables that would have worked. Fortunately, my Zune can use these cables. No, the real issue for me is that I had to purchase an Apple branded cable just to use the functionality that is already there but artificially crippled by APPLE. I did buy the Apple cable from Best Buy for 43 dollars (I had a Rewards Card and enough points for ten dollars off.) I found the cable no less expensive anywhere else without having to order it (we leave soon for vacation.) Anyway, quality of the video from the iPod is quite good, better than the 320 x 240 that my Zune puts out (first gen Zune only had one resolution, Zune 80 has several and is equal to the iPod.) The video on the Video-55 is very good, but you can tell the difference between videos downloaded from iTunes that was offered prior to Apple TV and what is offered now. I was a bit surprised by that.
Sonic Impact, as I noted, was rather generous with the accessories. Included in the box is (in addition to the cable mentioned above) a small remote control with battery, a carrying bag for the device, a cloth to wipe the device, AC adapter, car charger/adapter and a manual.
I purchased the Video-55 for $49.95 from Sam’s Club. It lists for $99.95 on the Sonic Impact web site. Fifty dollars makes it a great deal. I don’t know that I would pay twice that, but it is a quality device and feels solid.Sonic Impact website
(Note: as stated here and a previous rant of mine, Apple’s arbitrary crippling of the video out on the latest iPod’s has pretty much killed my desire to purchase any further Apple products. That cable I purchased is a tremendous rip-off. It’s a ten dollar cable, at best. To make you feel a bit better, they do throw in a USB charger. Oh, the packaging was nice. Black box, slippery feel and the cable was sealed in an expensive looking plastic bag. Hooray.)