Pros Loud enough to annoy your neighbors at a tailgate party. Long lasting battery...you get atleast 8 hours out of the battery.
Cons Batteries don't last forever!
Summary This is the best product out right now at this price point. If you're looking to play music at a tailgate party without lugging around a loud generator this is the product for you. The only downside to a portable stereo/pa system is that it runs off a battery and batteries as we know don't last forever. Ion sells a replacement battery for about half as much as the unit cost which I think is outrageous. There is a seller on ebay that sells Ion Block Rocker replacement batteries for a reasonable price. The seller also includes detailed instructions on how to replace the battery. If I can replace the battery anybody can! I give the Ion Block rocker 5 stars for innovation, portability and reliablility.
Pros iPod Charging
Summary A must for the serious tailgater and karaoke aficionado or for the family just looking to enjoy a little backyard music on a Sunday afternoon.
Pros loud, rolls like a suitcase, battery-powered, charges your iPod, comes with decent-quality corded microphone
Cons heavy (when you actually need to pick it up), internal lead acid battery is neither serviceable nor replaceable (as far as I have found), no remote.
Summary We bought a Block Rocker for our wedding reception and a second reception we hosted about a month later. The block rocker is ultra-portable with its suitcase-style wheels and telescoping handle, but when you need tp pick it up, it can be a little heavy. For a single loudspeaker, I think it throws out good sound...it does live up to its name. Another nice feature is that, whether plugged in or running on its own battery power, the Block Rocker will charge your iPod while it is broadcasting its sound.
The internal lead-acid battery in the Block Rocker is also its weak point. When new, the Block Rocker can run for several hours without being plugged into a wall outlet. After both receptions, we stored it back in its box and left it in our garage for about eight months. Around the eighth month, we decided that we would try to see if we could sell it, as we felt that we had no more use for it. Now, it still works great when it is plugged into a wall outlet, but it sat so long without a charge/discharge cycle, that the internal battery no longer holds a charge. the indicator lights give you the impression that all is well, but after about 3 hours "charging," it dies immediately when you try to run it on battery power.
I attempted to take the Block Rocker apart, to see if maybe I could service or replace the battery, but you cannot access very much of the internal workings of the Block Rocker, particularly the battery, which is hidden deep within glued-together pieces of partical board. It would have taken too much deconstruction to get to the battery, so I put it back together. There are no service ports on this thing at all! Ion Audio's website shows that a replacement battery is possible for the Block Rocker, but there are no photos or ordering ability, and as it stands, the site is poorly put together and they don't seem to be willing to respond to email inquiries, either.
I have been trying to "rehabilitate" the battery by experimenting with different methods of plugging it in, in an attempt to charge the internal battery. After several days of "messing" with it, it will now play and charge my iPod on battery power only, but the battery meter is still a bit "jumpy," to where I don't know how long it will run without electricity. Perhaps I have resurrected the battery to the point that it will charge and stay that way for a while.
Pros Loud enough for almost any occasion, Portable, Long battery life, iPod friendly, Professional microphone
Cons A little heavy for lugging around, iPod jack exposed, No cable storage compartment
Summary I've owned this thing since June 2008 and have used it for several functions to include a highschool reunion. It worked out perfectly each time. The speaker itself is a little large and heavy but any battery that lasts greater than 6 hours isn't going to be light. It comes with two side spring loaded handles for picking up the speaker with one or two people. It also comes with an extendable handle like a piece of luggage and has wheels for rolling the system. That was a convenient option. The dials have a logical layout with easy access to microphone jack.
For those with iPods, it is convenient to just plug in the unit to the system. I'm not an iPod owner so I have not used that function. However, I wish they had built it into the system and allowed it to be fully enclosed. I had to buy an extra RCA audio cable to use with my Archos .mp3 player....not a big deal. CNet's review commented that there is no remote....the only work-around for this is to have a player that comes with a remote. My Archos AV500 does have a remote so it worked out perfectly for me. It also has plenty of audio options.
The sound was plenty loud enough. I actually prefer the larger single speaker as opposed to two smaller ones that may not produce as loud of an output. I didn't get any reverb while using the microphone but I didn't have it cranked all the way up either.
The battery showed two leds lit out of 3 after about 6.5 hours at roughly 75% volume. I did turn it down a few times while I was speaking but the nice thing is the microphone volume is independent of the music volume. Overall, I would recommend this system, it works well for just about anything. The ability to use it in the absence of power for so long is nice. I gave this a 4.5 due to the weight, iPod interface, and absence of a compartment for cable storage...otherwise it's awesome.
Hope this helps,