Portable Speaker Review: iHome iDM8 Portable Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker
Editor's Rating (1-5): 4
What's Hot: Tiny and stylish form factor. Robust and easy to pair Bluetooth module. Omni-directional. Good battery life (rechargeable).
What's Not: Mono (omnidirectional) speaker makes this somewhat of a niche product.
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
The iDM8 Speaker is a handy little speaker designed to help you share your music without sharing your phone/mp3 player.
Features and Specs and Quality
The iHome iDM8 Portable Bluetooth Speaker is a funky little omnidirectional speaker with a surprising amount of power. It looks like the top of a karaoke microphone, it's a little bit bigger than a baseball, and it can fill every corner of a medium sized room with music. Its omnidirectional design means that you can place this little bugger right in the center of a room - a much more efficient way to spread the sound. Unfortunately, this also means that the speaker is mono only. Fortunately, it has enough horsepower that you are unlikely to notice this in any setting where you are likely to use it. Please note those last 4 words (...likely to use it) as they're fairly important. While the iDM8 does a great job pushing music in all directions from a remote location, there are better and cheaper options if you need music blasted in a single direction, so keep that in mind when you're shopping.
Because this is a Bluetooth speaker, you won't need to leave your Bluetooth-capable source device plugged into it as it will effortlessly stream music over the air as long as you are in the immediate vicinity. Pairing the iDM8 is dead simple on an iPhone/iPad (and likely other devices, as well), and once you do so, it stays paired until you unpair it. To use it, simply set the switch on the bottom of the unit to Bluetooth mode, press the power button on the side, and start your music. The obvious big advantage here is you can keep your phone with you instead of parking it next to the speaker where anybody can noodle with it (or whisk it away) if they like. Just be sure to set your phone on silent to prevent every key click, text message, or ringtone from broadcasting along with your music. Yes, the speaker will continue to play music (on an iPhone, at least) when in silent mode.
Lastly, if you don't have a Bluetooth-capable device, there is no need for wailing and gnashing of teeth; the iDM8 also supports input via a headphone jack with their included dual-purpose cable. This cable also serves to charge the device's internal battery when plugged into a USB port.
The iDM8 is a fun and surprisingly powerful little speaker for its size. While the mono speaker means no stereo separation in your music, it also allows the sound to go everywhere at once; a singular feature that you either need, or you don't. Connecting it via Bluetooth means you can keep your device with you while the music is playing. It's well-made, surprisingly heavy for its size (a good thing in a speaker), and is likely to be a nice little attention-getter at your next gathering.