Aerielle i2i Stream Two Pack

The Short Form
$119.95; additional i2i One Pack, $69.95; USB AC power plug adapter charger, $9.95; Home Stereo Adapter Kit, $12.95 / i2igear.com / 650-967-4047
Snapshot
Sharing audio wirelessly and privately from an iPod or computer has never been easier.
Plus
• Each i2i Stream device can be set to broadcast or receive • Maintains stereo quality of source player • Extremely portable • Wi-Fi is irrelevant
Minus
• No cable in box for connection to standard stereo inputs on a tabletop radio or audio receiver - it's extra (see image, next page) • Relies on charging from a computer's USB ports since using a power outlet is yet another option • Bring your own earphones • Send and receive buttons aren't clearly identified
Key Features
• Two 2.4 GHz wireless transceivers (2.5 x 1.25 x .5-in each) • 30-foot broadcast range • 7 color-coded frequencies • Battery charge lasts about five hours of continuous use

Sharing their music secretly on the subway, two teenage girls each wore a single earbud diverging from an iPod. A generation earlier, they would have used a boombox. But being tethered together hardly put a damper on the girls' enjoyment, though I thought, what if they could each have their own set of earphones and be able to gyrate to opposite ends of the subway car listening to the same iPod? Now, that would be one wireless miracle!

i2i Gear must have had the same thought because the company, a division of Aerielle Technologies, recently introduced the i2i Stream Two Pack, a pair of domino-size two-way radios meant to be worn on lanyards (included) or clips. The company describes the product, which operates at 2.4 Gigahertz, as a digital music broadcaster (though one where only clued-in listeners are welcome).

SETUP

First, you charge the pair's embedded batteries using the USB cables that plug into your computer. Since there's no memory in the i2i Streamers, you can't download songs. An optional AC adapter that accommodates one device at a time reduces charging time by half.

Attaching one of the four white audio cables (two 12- and two 28-inchers) to the sending streamer is confusing, since one end of each cable is a 3.5mm stereo miniplug (compatible with the earphone jacks of most portable devices) but the other end is a wee 2.5mm. You insert the larger plug in the headphone jack of an MP3 player, computer, or portable DVD player, and the smaller plug in the bottom socket of the sender. A pass-through earphone jack on top of the sender lets you listen to your music using your own earphones. Once you turn both halves of the Two Pack on, you press the hieroglyphics-decorated send button on one end and the equally obtuse receive button on the other. (To be language-independent, why not instead use a daisy of outward arrows for send and incoming arrows to receive?) Then, you choose one of seven channels by pressing the center button on each device until the colors match. If you can play Candyland, you can tune an i2i Stream. The sender pulsates while the receiver glows steadily. More i2i Stream devices (available as one- or two packs) can be added in situations where one source player is meant to serve an entourage of mall walkers, for instance.

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