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iPod Accessory Reviews: speakers and cases

iHome2go iH19P Colortunes protective speaker case

Editor's rating (1-5):
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Review posted May, 2007 by Jacob Spindel, Chief iPod Correspondent

It was a speaker designed for your at-home times; it was a speaker designed for your on-the-go times. The iHome2go has a name that is indeed a bit self-contradictory, which seems appropriate for an iPod speaker dock that is itself a bit of a contradiction (though maybe not quite a Dickensian one). Fusing the high-tech capabilities of the iPod with a chic design geared toward style more than technology, the iHome2go is likely to appeal to active people who value portability and durability over functionality.

Great Expectations

The iH19 consists of a rugged neoprene case (five colors are available, ours is the light pink iH19P) that measures 9.05 x 4.25 x 3.54 inches and weighs approximately 2.4 lbs (without an iPod). The unit’s front panel features stereo speakers (each with a diameter of about 2.25 inches), as well as a control pad reminiscent of Apple’s own remote control, including back/forward buttons, volume up/down buttons, and a play/pause button in the center. Instead of the various snaps and latches normally used by speaker docks, the iHome2go is held closed by a zipper, which opens to reveal the battery area, as well as an iPod connection cable, a hold switch, and connectors for the AC adaptor, a line-in cable (enabling you to use the iHome2go with an iPod shuffle or other audio devices), and headphones. The power, line-in, and headphone jacks can also be accessed while the unit is closed via a Velcro panel. If you want or need to see your iPod’s screen, however, you will have to unzip the unit fully.

iHome2go iPod speakers

The outer shell is rugged and “splash proof,” meaning that it is resistant to accidents and weather, although it is not fully waterproof, so liquids should still be kept away from it whenever possible. Included clamps can be easily attached to (or detached from) the rear of the case, allowing you to clip the unit to a bike, stroller, or exercise equipment. Overall, the iHome2go is one of the most durable speaker docks available for the iPod.

Pushing Your Buttons

In practice, however, some features of the Colortunes iH19 seem less than optimal. Although the device is designed to be quite portable, it doesn’t include a rechargeable battery—you’ll have to use 4 AAs instead. Moreover, although the product does charge your iPod when it is connected to AC power, it doesn’t charge it on battery power, and it doesn’t provide any syncing ability. You will also not be able to use the iHome2go to charge rechargeable AAs, even if it is plugged in.

Perhaps even worse is that the control panel is buggy—sometimes the buttons don’t seem to respond to being pressed, and sometimes audio doesn’t play through the speakers at all if you use the iPod’s own buttons instead of the control panel. Discussions I found on the Internet seemed to indicate that many people are experiencing similar issues.

Audio Quality

I evaluated the audio quality of the iH19 in the following categories:

Bass: Considering the small size of the iHome2go, the bass is remarkably strong and accurately reproduced. 4.5/5.0
Treble: Higher-frequency tones are also represented well and are balanced well with the bass. 4.5/5.0
Clarity: Voices and audio were certainly clear enough to be listened to without any issues, although it doesn’t quite approach the “high resolution” level of clarity offered by some high-end products. 4.0/5.0
Volume: The volume range of the iHome2go is also fairly strong, with the small speakers able to produce a huge amount of sound of needed, but on the other end of the spectrum, I wish there were more volume levels between the device’s lowest setting level and total silence—in some situations, a very quiet sound may be critical for respecting others, but the iHome2go is a bit limit in this area. 3.5/5.0

 

 

 

 

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iHome iH19

Is iHome Where The iHeart Is?

If your daily routine involves a lot of physical activity, especially outdoors, then the iHome2go is quite possibly the only iPod speaker dock that can withstand your active lifestyle. High-tech geeks are likely to be frustrated by some of the device’s limitations and bugs, but if your main concern is simply to avoid demolishing your iPod or dock, then the iHome2go is a strong contender. In fact, even the likes of Ebenezer Scrooge or Oliver Twist would probably find that—oh forget it.

Pros: Rugged casing; strong bass and overall volume; compact, portable, and attractively designed.

Cons: Problematic control panel; no built-in battery; no syncing ability.

 

List Price: $69.99

Web Site: www.ihomeaudio.com

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