"Nice, but 2 flaws"2.5 starson by jimn367
Pros: Well built, decent sounding speakers
Cons: Stretches 4:3 video, Doesn't power ipod
Summary: Based on C/Net reviews and reviews by other sites I decided to get the V55 versus the competition (Memorex i-Flip). The reviews are fairly accurate, but I think [the reviews] are too enamored with style over function. For example the importance of an IR remote is over-sold for a personal device, at least for my personal use profile in airplanes and other vehicles.
The V55 is very well built. It's solid, ipod integration is very nice, and there is excellent fit and finish. The speakers provide pretty good sound, and make a good portable system for use on the road.
Now the two flaws which are driving me to return the product:
1) No 4:3 aspect ratio selection. I had read on-line that this was fixed, but the unit I bought last week (Dec 20, 2006)does not allow selection of 4:3. Watching i-tunes downloaded video in 'wide-head' mode is simply not acceptable for a product in this price category. I don't mind re-ripping my DVDs with the proper wide screen aspect ratio, but there is no way to play native 4:3 video without video stretching.
2) The V55 battery doesn't provide power to the ipod. The ipod battery drains as the V55 system is being used. The cheaper competition keeps the ipod battery topped off, so when the video system drains you still have a fully charged ipod for your portable use. Also if your ipod battery is drained you cannot use the V55. Again, not so with the cheaper competing product.Updated
The 4:3 issue I mentioned above is not related to the widescreen on/off toggle on the ipod itself. With widescreen (from the ipod) turned off the V55 will take the 4:3 aspect ratio image and stretch it to a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. There is no way to make the V55 display a 4:3 image in the proper aspect ratio with black bands on the side.
Hope this helps.Updated
I have a typo. I bought the unit on 12/30/2006, not 12/20/2006.
As I said above, there are other posters stating that the 4:3 control has been added with a firmware upgrade. However, my recently purchased unit does not contain this feature. In addition I e-mailed SI the day I bought the unit and I have not received a response. There is also no mention of a firmware upgrade on the SI website.