The degraded state of a worksite radio used to be a point of pride amongst tradespeople. The grungier, basically, the better. But one of the exhibits at CES that caught our eye might change all that. The Sangean Fatbox FB-100 has the look of a portable generator but, in fact, is a ridiculously rugged AM/FM radio and MP3 player that also safely protects an iPod against water, dust and the most brutal of treatment.
Built to survive the cruelest conditions, the Fatbox has a heavy-duty ABS plastic roll cage that can survive falls from six feet, and more than 250 pounds of pressure. It's rainproof, dustproof and even has a flexible rubber antenna. The buttons, speakers and battery chamber are all sealed to avoid nasty mishaps. And the backlit LCD dsiplay is big enough to see even through clouds of dust.
But, most of all, the Fatbox is a pretty impressive music machine. Two 6.5 inch waterproof speakers are loud enough to be heard even over the noisiest workplace. Six EQ settings make sure that everything from Howard Stern to Bruce Springsteen are heard at their best. There are two AUX ports for an MP3 player, iPod or iPhone, and a special padded compartment at the back to make sure they'll survive the day at work.
Plus, the Fatbox will even recharge Ni-MH batteries, so it can earn its keep. Together with its baby brother, the Lunchbox, the Fatbox may yet prove to be the hardest worker on the building site. It will be available for sale from February.