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"Take two bottles into the shower?", one particularly irritating 80s shampoo advert asked and, right on cue, legions of impressionable consumers began eschewing the benefits of separate shampoo and conditioner in favour of this shiny new one bottle solution that left hair resembling a particularly unruly haystack. It seems everything needs to be in one easy package these days and that's not necessarily a good thing. Take, for example, the all-in-one swimsuit. A spectacularly useless garment if ever there was one.
There are one or two things, however, that lend themselves perfectly to being combined, leaving you wondering why no one ever thought of it before. MP3 players and speakers, for instance, and before you go frantically penning that letter to the patent office, that's been done now, too, and takes the shape of Creative's Travel Sound MP3 system.
Resembling the original Travel Sound speaker system so closely you'd swear it was the result of some dubious inbreeding, the Travel Sound MP3 takes the concept a step further and bolts a 128MB MP3 player onto the Travel Sound's rugged chassis. Creative have also cleverly incorporated a SmartMedia slot that allows you to add up to 128MB to the hardware 128. That's 256MB of storage, stats fans, enough for a decent party's worth of MP3 tuneage while on the move. Parties on the move, eh? What will we think of next?
And don't go thinking that the Travel Sound's sonic abilities have been weakened any by the addition of extra tech. They're still the same dinky titanium ear-caressing dynamos that powered the original and they're still as sweet as a lorry load of Orange Aeros. And just because there's an MP3 player onboard doesn't mean the Travel Sounds have forgotten their heritage, either. There's still a line-in socket for connection to other MP3 players, MiniDiscs, CD portables et al. So the best portable speakers ever made just got better by splicing in another gadget? Wonders will never cease.