You knew it was just a matter of time before iHome was able to roll out its Lightning compatible accessories, and the first round is now available. To get us started, they provided AppleTell with a review unit of the iDL45, which brings FM clock radio functionality to your Lightning compatible Apple iDevice, keeping it charged all the while.
Obviously, the big draw here is the Lightning connector. You can tell iHome has experience with such devices, as they got a couple important things right with this. There’s a degree of flexibility to it, so the angle can change based on the device you’re using. This is important, because iHome includes a device rest to brace your iDevice on top of the dock. It supports the weight of your iDevice, taking pressure off the Lightning connector itself so you won’t have worry about it snapping off if you hit your iDevice too hard when shutting off that morning alarm.
I also like that the base around the Lightning connector has some soft padding to cushion the bottom of your iDevice. However, the connector sits flush with the base, so if you’re using anything but the slimmest of cases on your iDevice, it may not make a connection without you having to remove the case.
The dock itself is big and weighty enough to support an iPad. It’s 10.6″ wide, 6.23″ deep, and 4.26″ high, so you’re going to need some retail space on your night stand. The iDL45 uses its size to house Reson8 speaker chambers that offer more enough volume to get you up in the morning or lull you to sleep at night. It also accommodates a lot of buttons on top: volume, two alarm sets, audio controls, power, sleep, EQ, and your snooze bar (which is, of course, the biggest). All of these are lit in clear white for easy viewing at night, although they can be dimmed to preconfigured settings by tapping the snooze bar.
That’s fine, but my previous iHome alarm clock—the iA5—had a feature in which the clock’s readout shut off when I docked my iPhone, allowing only the iHome+Sleep app to display the time. That’s not the case here.
Beyond that minor issue, the iDL45 includes a lot of great features, including the ability to sync the time with your iDevice via the push of a button, which is great after time changes or power outages (there is, of course, a backup battery to keep your clock functioning when the power goes out). You can also set music or white noise to play as you’re going to sleep, and it slowly fades to silence according to the duration you specify. The same with waking up; the alarm can slowly increase in volume so you’re not jolted out of a deep sleep (although I find a gently increasing alarm volume to be more annoying than just getting slapped in the face with the full blast of the funeral bell sound I’ve selected in the iHome+Sleep app). You, of course, can wake up to your playlist, FM radio, or the iDL45’s buzzer if you prefer.
It’s also worth noting that the iDL45 offers two alarms that can be programmed independently, so you only need one clock for two people. Get the aforementioned iHome+Sleep app and the functionality increases even beyond that.
Considering the youth of the Lightning port, whatever accessories you buy will likely be in place for years to come. You can rest assured that the iHome iDL45 will have no trouble handling your iPhone, iPad and iPod upgrades over the years…even if it doesn’t handle all of their cases.
Provides: FM radio alarm clock functionality and charging for Lightning compatible iPhones, iPads and iPods
Minimum Requirements: Any Apple iDevice with the Lightning connector