Most cheap portable speakers typically come with the same shoddy plastic build and generic styling. Occasionally, though, you come across a real gem that offers a bit more fun than what your standard desktop speaker provides. One look at the DIY Speakers from Merkury and you instantly know that there's something that's unusually attractive about it.
Forget plastic enclosures, these speaker units are housed in a standard cardboard box. While probably cheaper than plastic containers, the carton build gives the speakers a personality that makes them a tad more fashionable than most similar devices in its price range.
Instead of a complete, ready-to-use pair of audio output peripherals, the DIY Speakers ship flat as a kit that you can assemble at home. It comes with all the standard components you need to put together your own stereo speakers, along with a set of instructions and six colored pencils. The instructions, of course, are intended to teach you how to put the thing together, while the pencils are meant to let you customize the containers with the best art you can muster.
You can build the rig easily on your own or with your kids for both an educational and creative bonding experience. The customizing alone should offer entertainment for a good couple of hours. If you're traveling, you can even open the frame (it opens like a regular box from the top), take the speaker apart and slip the components into a folder for taking with you anywhere.
Sound (according to a couple of reviews) is pretty decent, better than what you'd normally expect from an $18 box. The DIY Speakers can connect with most any audio source via a 3.5 mm dock and requires no separate power source. Using over 70% recycled components and with a fully biodegradable case, it's a pretty "green" piece of electronics too.