I buy a new iPod accessory.

It isn’t the iPod that’s costly. It’s the accessories.

Anyway, one of the things I like to do with my iPod is listen to podcasts. The only problem is that I don’t listen to my iPod often enough to keep up with all the podcasts I like to follow.

I decided that a good time to listen to podcasts was in the afternoon, when I got home from work and was doing things around the kitchen. You know: emptying the dishwasher, making dinner, cleaning up after Alex the Bird.

I used to plug the iPod into my Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh, which has a great sound system. But the other day the darn thing just stopped working. (My third Mac hardware problem in 6 months. They say bad things come in threes.) I have to decide whether I want to find someone to fix it or just leave it in the living room as a nonfunctioning conversation piece.

I tried plugging the iPod into my 12″ PowerBook, which spends a lot of time in the kitchen. The PowerBook’s hard drive is too full to keep the podcasts on it. But I couldn’t get the volume up loud enough to hear over Alex the Bird or the water running in the sink.

What I needed, I decided, was a set of portable speaker that I could use in the kitchen or take up to Howard Mesa or bring along on road trips. Something that had decent sound and was very portable.

i-FusionI did some research. I found i-Fusion.

I read the reviews on the Apple Store Web site. Everyone absolutely raved about the sound quality. I was a little skeptical. These speakers were small. I don’t care what the case is made of. They can only be so good. Fortunately, I didn’t need Bose quality sound. I just needed something that would sound okay and not distort if I turned up the volume a bit.

One reviewer whined that there wasn’t a place to store the power adapter. There is, however, a place to store the iPod and the earbuds. (I normally keep both in my purse when I travel.)

The price was a bit higher than I was willing to spend. My budget was about $100. This was $149. But I found it on the Tiger Direct Web site for $129 plus shipping for a total of about $135. And I felt as if I needed a treat, so I bought it.

It came today.

I must be spoiled when it comes to sound quality. Maybe it’s because Mike used to sell stereo systems and he buys good stuff for the house. Not expensive stuff, but good stuff. Stuff that sounds good. Really good.

i-Fusion does not sound really good. It sounds fine, but not really good. Those reviewers at the Apple Store Web site really need to spend some time in a stereo shop’s sound booth. Heck, I have a Sony boom box in my hangar that sounds better than this. But I’m not complaining. It’s certainly listenable and it can be turned up quite loud.

The case seems sturdy, the storage spaces are a bit silly but functional. I agree about the power adapter. It seems that they could have built the DC converter into the box (perhaps where the earbuds are supposed to go?) and made a retractable cord. That would have been a better design decision. But I can certainly imagine taking this little bugger on the road. With its built-in, rechargable litium-ion battery, it’ll be great for Howard Mesa, which doesn’t have electricity (yet).

Happy with my purchase? I think so.

I’ll let you know when I catch up on all those podcasts.

What do you think?