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View Full Version : Is SB3 robust as a product?



mitip
2006-04-30, 23:58
I may break things but I also design them, I argue if you haven't broken something you can't tell how strong it is! An expensive approach I know. As a designer and English contemporary of Jonathan Ive, of Apple design notoriety, I can see the iPod influence in the design of the SB3. But there is the rub, the 'product semantics' of an iPod match its use; it looks portable because it is portable.
I got into a habit of carrying my SB3 around. In the lounge for hifi, in the bedroom for late night, in the workshop as background music. But if you carry something you drop it, I did and the display gently hissed away its gas and the display stopped working. The SB3 is small, looks portable, has a nice leg at the back to carry it, is reminiscent of a portable iPod, almost encourages carrying but, as I can confirm, it not portable because it cannot survive the typical drop test that a portable object like my cell phone has to. A drop of 4 feet onto carpet killed the display.
Sorry Slimpeople, I like the appearance of SB3 but it is unsuitable. Either give it the semantics/feel of a fixed item, as the old SB1 (it doe not have to look like a 70s alarm clock though) or accept that the display is too fragile and revert to LCD (which would allow you to knock 50 ($70!) off the price.

peter
2006-05-01, 00:07
I'm not an industrial designer but I always thought that the attached
wal-wart and the thick RCA cords running from the back were a dead give
away as far as portability goes.

I remember very clearly the two times that my Nokia 9210's display died
after just a one meter drop. I agree that that's a bad thing for a
portable device, but really, the SB3 isn't portable. It would be nice it
it were more sturdy though, there's always a risk that it will fall off
a table or something...

Regards,
Peter

On Sun, 30 Apr 2006 23:58:04 -0700, "mitip"
<mitip.2749tz1146466801 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> I may break things but I also design them, I argue if you haven't broken
> something you can't tell how strong it is! An expensive approach I
> know. As a designer and English contemporary of Jonathan Ive, of Apple
> design notoriety, I can see the iPod influence in the design of the SB3.
> But there is the rub, the 'product semantics' of an iPod match its use;
> it looks portable because it is portable.
> I got into a habit of carrying my SB3 around. In the lounge for hifi,
> in the bedroom for late night, in the workshop as background music. But
> if you carry something you drop it, I did and the display gently hissed
> away its gas and the display stopped working. The SB3 is small, looks
> portable, has a nice leg at the back to carry it, is reminiscent of a
> portable iPod, almost encourages carrying but, as I can confirm, it not
> portable because it cannot survive the typical drop test that a portable
> object like my cell phone has to. A drop of 4 feet onto carpet killed
> the display.
> Sorry Slimpeople, I like the appearance of SB3 but it is unsuitable.
> Either give it the semantics/feel of a fixed item, as the old SB1 (it
> doe not have to look like a 70s alarm clock though) or accept that the
> display is too fragile and revert to LCD (which would allow you to
> knock 50 ($70!) off the price.
>
>
> --
> mitip
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> mitip's Profile: http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=5260
> View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=23509
>
>

Mark Norton
2006-05-01, 00:38
I think the SB3 is amazingly well made for the price, good quality mouldings, good display and if you take it apart, the quality of construction is fine. The display is glass and of course it will break if you drop it. I don't think anyone should seriously think of an SB3 as being a portable device. Besides your "carrying handle" is actually a stand.

The secret is not to be to mean and only have one SB3. I have three for the different locations I like to listen to music.

As for the iPod, there's a product which is clearly intended to be portable yet fails completely to stand up to the wear and tear involved in being so. You only have to look at the chrome back and it gets scratched and the fronts are made of a very soft, scratch prone plastic. So, if you're pointing an accusing finger at inappropriately designed products, I would point it in Steve Job's direction, not Sean's. And don't get me started on the lack of a user changeable battery.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-01, 05:55
The SB3 is clearly not meant to be a portable product!

Just because it looks like it is (I don't fully agree on this, but anyway) doesn't mean it is.

Perhaps you're looking at it more from an industrial design standpoint, but if you carried it around like that just to prove a point, well, point proven. It's not a portable product, despite it being seemingly designed like one.

I would not be willing to sacrifice the display, its best feature IMHO, to accommodate portability which it isn't designed for in the first place!

slimpy
2006-05-01, 06:16
Sorry, but you are just redirecting the anger about yourself to someone else. I don't think you will find the word "portable" anywhere on either the packaging or the slimdevices web site (you can prove me wrong).
This isn't a portable device. Period.
If I dropped my DVD player which has the same number of connections and is only slightly heavier would I blame the manufacturer for not making it sturdier because I want to carry it around? I don't think so.
The round edges and the faceplate remind you of an apple product? Well, how about this: My computer display has round edges, an aluminium body and two connections (it is even made by apple!). I have not yet felt like carrying it around or dropping it.

-s.

matt24
2006-05-01, 07:37
Take away the VFD and replace it with an LCD? No way, the VFD is the reason I bought the SB3.

I'm not going to try it, but I don't think my Ipod's hard disc would fare to well if I dropped it either...

peter
2006-05-01, 08:56
On Mon, 1 May 2006 07:37:14 -0700, "matt24"
<matt24.274v4n1146494401 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> Take away the VFD and replace it with an LCD? No way, the VFD is the
> reason I bought the SB3.
>
> I'm not going to try it, but I don't think my Ipod's hard disc would
> fare to well if I dropped it either...

My iRiver H140 suffered no ill effects when it jumped form my pocket
while I was running through an Amsterdam street (late for a meeting in
the Okura) and it bounced on the stones a few times. It was turned off
and the iRiver's metal casing is probably a lot more sturdy than the
iPod's plastic. Not to mention the beneficial effects of the crude but
effective leather case that comes with it. Still, I'll try not to repeat
that experiment.

I think the iPod's casing is more at risk from damage than the HD, at
least if the latter is in parked mode, which - fortunately - it is most
of the time.

Regards,
Peter

stinkingpig
2006-05-01, 09:34
....
>
> My iRiver H140 suffered no ill effects when it jumped form my pocket
> while I was running through an Amsterdam street (late for a meeting in
> the Okura) and it bounced on the stones a few times. It was turned off
> and the iRiver's metal casing is probably a lot more sturdy than the
> iPod's plastic. Not to mention the beneficial effects of the crude but
> effective leather case that comes with it. Still, I'll try not to repeat
> that experiment.
>
> I think the iPod's casing is more at risk from damage than the HD, at
> least if the latter is in parked mode, which - fortunately - it is most
> of the time.
>
> Regards,
> Peter



I drop my iHP-120 fairly often, no issues. It is in the leather case that
iRiver thoughtfully provided. It's in much better shape than my wife's iPod
mini, which is half the age.
--
"I spent all me tin with the ladies drinking gin,
So across the Western ocean I must wander" -- traditional

seanadams
2006-05-01, 11:01
I may break things but I also design them, I argue if you haven't broken something you can't tell how strong it is! An expensive approach I know. As a designer and English contemporary of Jonathan Ive, of Apple design notoriety, I can see the iPod influence in the design of the SB3. But there is the rub, the 'product semantics' of an iPod match its use; it looks portable because it is portable.
I got into a habit of carrying my SB3 around. In the lounge for hifi, in the bedroom for late night, in the workshop as background music. But if you carry something you drop it, I did and the display gently hissed away its gas and the display stopped working. The SB3 is small, looks portable, has a nice leg at the back to carry it, is reminiscent of a portable iPod, almost encourages carrying but, as I can confirm, it not portable because it cannot survive the typical drop test that a portable object like my cell phone has to. A drop of 4 feet onto carpet killed the display.
Sorry Slimpeople, I like the appearance of SB3 but it is unsuitable. Either give it the semantics/feel of a fixed item, as the old SB1 (it doe not have to look like a 70s alarm clock though) or accept that the display is too fragile and revert to LCD (which would allow you to knock 50 ($70!) off the price.

For what it's worth, I just checked with our support guy and he only recalls one other instance of a customer reporting a damaged display from a fall. Considering it's a glass vacuum tube, they are pretty robust. They're mounted on foam strips to absorb impact, and it really takes a bad stroke of luck for them to break in a typical fall. We'll consider a warning on the package - it's really not intended to be carried around like a ipod.

Anyway please contact support@slimdevices.com and they can arrange for repairs.

joek
2006-05-01, 11:15
I appreciate you sharing your experience with the forum. It is a good reminder to be careful not to accidently knock over the SB when mucking around behind the stereo equipment.

That must have been a heart stopping experience. Ooch.

peter
2006-05-01, 12:01
On Mon, 1 May 2006 11:15:52 -0700, "joek"
<joek.2755bb1146507601 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> I appreciate you sharing your experience with the forum. It is a good
> reminder to be careful not to accidently knock over the SB when
> mucking around behind the stereo equipment.

It sure made me check if the cables would hold mine if the housekeeper
for knock it from its little ledge in the kitchen ;)

Regards,
Peter

jimdibb
2006-05-01, 12:11
It made me check the calendar to make sure it was May1 not April1.

Original poster,
Sorry your SB3 is broken, but do you complain to the manufacturer when
you drop anything else and it breaks? Like a crystal glass, or a
china dish or a vase, or an egg? They are all much more "portable"
than a SB3 (no wires, no electricity needed) yet I bet you wouldn't
think of it.

It's nice some are finding usefulness in your message.


On 5/1/06, Peter <landen-slimp (AT) frg (DOT) eur.nl> wrote:

> It sure made me check if the cables would hold mine if the housekeeper
> for knock it from its little ledge in the kitchen ;)
>
> Regards,
> Peter
>

azinck3
2006-05-01, 12:16
On Mon, 1 May 2006 11:15:52 -0700, "joek"
<joek.2755bb1146507601 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> I appreciate you sharing your experience with the forum. It is a good
> reminder to be careful not to accidently knock over the SB when
> mucking around behind the stereo equipment.

It sure made me check if the cables would hold mine if the housekeeper
for knock it from its little ledge in the kitchen ;)

Regards,
Peter


Yeah, that's why I don't have a housekeeper.

freelunch
2006-05-01, 13:33
> I may break things but I also design them, I argue if you haven't broken
> something you can't tell how strong it is! An expensive approach I
> know.

If you had simply rebooted your router like everyone repeatedly
suggested, I'll bet you wouldn't have thrown it into the wall in
frustration.


My apologies if I have the wrong thread,

FL

mzpro5
2006-05-01, 14:14
>
If you had simply rebooted your router like everyone repeatedly
suggested, I'll bet you wouldn't have thrown it into the wall in
frustration.


My apologies if I have the wrong thread,

FL

ROTFLMAO x 5

mitip
2006-05-02, 15:11
How wonderfully amusing all these replies! Yet it is a fundament of design to make an object to LOOK appropriate for its job i.e. a sports car look fast, a couch look comfortable, a static object looks static and a portable object portable etc (unless of course you do the opposite intentionally for effect). I merely comment that the SB3 LOOKS more portable than say an SB2 and in many ways similar to an iPod which is portable (intended as as a compliment). This is borne out by the fact that I carried mine about. I like the design, and yes it is very robust despite my experiences. But on the other hand cell phones have to pass a standard drop test which is onto one corner from about 4 feet onto concrete. Maybe I was just unlucky or perhaps gravity is stronger here in the UK! As to buying more SB3s I did suggest it to my wife and guess what she said? Buy an iPod!

I have returned mine for repair, I thought it was the screen because the display started to fade from one end in the evening and would show nothing the next morning; unless some bright spark tells me all I needed do was press alt control delete and it would have burst into life?

RooX
2006-05-02, 16:05
and an old ibook looks like a toilet seat.. i dont poop on it though. :) sorry couldnt help it :), shame about the display and all that.


How wonderfully amusing all these replies! Yet it is a fundament of design to make an object to LOOK appropriate for its job i.e. a sports car look fast, a couch look comfortable, a static object looks static and a portable object portable etc (unless of course you do the opposite intentionally for effect). I merely comment that the SB3 LOOKS more portable than say an SB2 and in many ways similar to an iPod which is portable (intended as as a compliment). This is borne out by the fact that I carried mine about. I like the design, and yes it is very robust despite my experiences. But on the other hand cell phones have to pass a standard drop test which is onto one corner from about 4 feet onto concrete. Maybe I was just unlucky or perhaps gravity is stronger here in the UK! As to buying more SB3s I did suggest it to my wife and guess what she said? Buy an iPod!

I have returned mine for repair, I thought it was the screen because the display started to fade from one end in the evening and would show nothing the next morning; unless some bright spark tells me all I needed do was press alt control delete and it would have burst into life?

bpa
2006-05-02, 16:15
Yet it is a fundament of design to make an object to LOOK appropriate for its job


This reminded me of the story about the angry user who rang up their PC support line to complain that the coffee cup holder on their new PC broke as soon as they used it and anyhow the hole in the middle was too small for the coffee cup.

radish
2006-05-02, 16:46
How wonderfully amusing all these replies! Yet it is a fundament of design to make an object to LOOK appropriate for its job i.e. a sports car look fast, a couch look comfortable, a static object looks static and a portable object portable etc (unless of course you do the opposite intentionally for effect). I merely comment that the SB3 LOOKS more portable than say an SB2 and in many ways similar to an iPod which is portable (intended as as a compliment). This is borne out by the fact that I carried mine about. I like the design, and yes it is very robust despite my experiences. But on the other hand cell phones have to pass a standard drop test which is onto one corner from about 4 feet onto concrete.

I'm sorry, but this is silly. There's a difference between "moveable" and "portable". A cellphone is portable, it's DESIGNED to be moved around, it has batteries and requires no connections. Likewise an iPod, or a walkman, or a camera. These devices, of course, are designed to be resiliant to the usual kind of abuse they get being carted around in people's pockets (although whether you're going to get much joy from the warranty if you break it is another story).

On the other hand, many devices, whilst small enough to be moveable are not designed to be operated while in motion or moved frequently or carelessly. Examples - a small TV, a regular corded telephone, a clock radio, a blender. These items's don't have batteries, do require cables to be connected and do not pass drop tests. The SB3, whatever you feel it may look like, fits into the latter category. The fact that it happens to share a couple of design elements with an iPod (curves? shiny plastic front?) doesn't change that.


As to buying more SB3s I did suggest it to my wife and guess what she said? Buy an iPod!
If you want something portable, that's excellent advice.

jimdibb
2006-05-02, 17:18
On 5/2/06, mitip <mitip.277auz1146608101 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
>
>
> How wonderfully amusing all these replies! Yet it is a fundament of
> design to make an object to LOOK appropriate for its job i.e. a sports
> car look fast, a couch look comfortable,


Your're making a function follows form argument. Yet sports car's look fast
because aerodynamics mandate that all fast things look basically the same.
And we've learned that fast things have a certain look. I've seen many
different couches, and not all of them are comfortable or look comfortable.
And they also look comfortable because we're conditioned to know that if a
couch looks a certain way it is more likely comfortable than not.

I've got a Gallileo thermometer that looks like it's plenty fast and
portable, just like a rocket ready to take off, yet I don't use it to sample
temperatures from room to room or take it outside to make a daily weather
report.

I'm not sure why I'm continuing to reply, but your wife sounds like a smart
person. You want a portable music device, buy one. Don't buy one that
never pretended to be one yet happens to look like one.

Grumpy_Git
2006-05-03, 04:07
You want a portable music device, buy one. Don't buy one that
never pretended to be one yet happens to look like one.

As I was reading this thread I thought pretty much the same thing but with a few extra words:

Don't buy one that never pretended to be one yet happens IN YOUR OPINION to look like one.

The SB3 is too big and is obviously designed to be sat on a flat surface to have been designed be portable, in the personal device sense.

Nick.

PS: I've got an 85Kg video projector thats "moveable" if anyone wants it! lol

slimpy
2006-05-03, 05:24
PS: I've got an 85Kg video projector thats "moveable" if anyone wants it! lol
I might be interested. But only if it looks portable and you haven't dropped it. ;)

Grumpy_Git
2006-05-03, 08:45
everyone should check out the K.R.O.N.O.S thread in this forum, esp the bit about the car battery powered SB3, classic!

I think my proj is portable, I've lugged it all over the country since I bought it to watch to footy on in Euro2000.

Nick.

mitip
2006-05-03, 16:27
see proves my point! Surely nobody who designs projectors would comsider it might get moved around, but as last post shows people do. I do think those that read my original post and were able to avoid vitriol might appreciate that I am neither complaining, moaning or criticising. But merely stating that the nature of the SB3 combined with its (how do I put this so as not to elicit further silly responses?) 'product semantics that are clearly more akin to a portable device than say the old SB2' means some clear idiots like me will move it around and then inevitably drop it!
END OF THREAD!

rudholm
2006-05-03, 18:22
What "Product Semantics" do an attached power and audio cable communicate?

Yes, user interface and industrial design do employ metaphor and consistent semantic sets to make use of a thing more intuitive, but to suggest that the ethereal and subjective concept of "product semantics" should influence actual usage in this way is to abdicate intelligence and tortue the very concept of design semantics.

The fact that the unit's "design semantics suggest portability" to you should not be enough to convince you that you should be carrying it room to room regularly. Suggestion to the contrary is neat balderdash.

I'm happy that Slim Devices credits me with the literacy and intelligence required to use their products properly without having to be beaten over the head with the obvious.

Grumpy_Git
2006-05-04, 01:50
I feel the need to add that I move my 85Kg projector due to need rather than through choice, much like you move(d) your SB3, I own precicely 3 portable devices: a phone, PDA and PSP.

Just because something is small and pretty does not mean its a mobile device.

Nick.

Cubed
2006-05-04, 02:50
I have an Apple iMac G5 'Desktop' with bluetooth keyboard and mouse. So far I've used it in every room in the house bar the bog and I take it all over the place when travelling. I've also used it on a intercity train which had a power socket - LOl at the face of the laptop user next to me!


Still wouldn't like to drop it though.

Michaelwagner
2006-05-04, 17:07
I move my 85Kg projector due to need
Does it have wheels? 85Kg is awfully heavy.

Cleve
2006-05-04, 21:09
Not everything that's portable is capable of surviving a 4 foot drop unscathed. The Dell laptop I'm typing this message on, is wireless and completely portable. Yet I shudder to think of the consequences of a 4 foot drop onto the kitchen floor. There would be damage - most likely significant.

But if I did drop it and destroy it, I would hardly blame the manufacturer. Then consider that, while my laptop is portable, the SB3 is NOT portable. Not in any way, shape or form. Nor is there really anything about the unit, nethier in design nor in the instructions, that suggests portability. At least not to me.

The point is - I certainly wouldn't blame any manufacturer if I used a device in a way unintended by the maker, and then through my own carelessness cause damage to the unit.