There's so much other cool stuff that Apple's iPhone does that it's easy to forget that it's also an iPod. As such it is ripe for all sorts of accessorising – speakers, better headphones, etc.
The first speaker system specifically designed for the iPhone is Logic3's i-Station Traveller for iPhone.
Dressed in a cool, black gloss finish with silver trim, the compact i-Station Traveller matches the iPhone's looks – although on close inspection is obviously a lot more plasticky and lightweight (not such a bad thing for a portable system!). The little support legs are rather flimsy, which makes the speakers face up rather than stand upright – which lessens its obvious appeal as a little video player.
For best looks you set the iPhone horizontally, but you can also sit it vertically. The holding system is adjustable so the speakers can rest right alongside the iPhone's ends.
Unfortunately, the way Logic 3 suggests you place the iPhone is quite impractical – with the iPhone's volume controls unreachable on the bottom. Flipping it over makes a lot more sense. Why Logic3 didn't notice this poor instruction is baffling?
Changing music in Cover Flow or accessing the iPhone's video controls also requires lifting the iPhone out of the speaker system.
As a speaker system it should be judged first and foremost on sound, and the i-Station Traveller scores well for such a low-cost system. Logic3 claims that TDMA noise – the sound emitted from mobile phones and usually heard through speakers – has been kept to a minimum. Even at high volumes this claim stands up.
Total output is 4 watts, and the speakers should be powerful enough for a mid-sized room. Sound quality does suffer at the highest volumes, however.
The i-Station Traveller doesn't employ the iPhone's dock connector, and so is also compatible with any device with a 3.5mm jack, including any iPod or MP3 player and a Sony PSP. A 3.5mm to 2.5mm stereo converter means you can connect any compatible mobile phone, even if it's nowhere near as cool as the iPhone.
However, this also means that it can't charge the iPhone while playing – something that most iPod speakers are capable of, and pretty vital if you use up its juice quickly. (The i-Station Traveller itself comes with mains adaptor and four AAA batteries, as well as a nice soft bag to protect it in transit.)
The i-Station Traveller is a bargain-priced speaker system for the iPhone that delivers decent sound in an attractive compact case, but it is let down somewhat by its inability to charge the phone's battery and also by Logic3's lousy (but rectifiable) instructions that suggest you place the iPhone's volume controls out of reach.