Product: Alarm clock radio and iPod speakers
Minimum Requirements: None (iPod or iPhone recommended)
Availability: Out now
The iHome iP9 is a dual alarm clock radio and iPod speaker dock unit that does everything you’d expect based on that description. It will play your iPod’s music, the radio and auxiliary audio, and it will do all of this for you in the wee hours of the morning we love so very dearly. What really sets iP9 apart from its competitors is the level of detail and quality that iHome put into this product.
iHome almost has a set look when it comes to this style of speaker dock for the iPod. They are very consistent in their design and performance. You’ve likely seen previous versions of this very product while strolling through many a fine (and I’m sure not so fine) retailer. This edition is black (or white, or blue), supports basically every dockable iPod ever sold, and can accept auxiliary input from anything else with its 1/8″ stereo input in the back.
The unit provides all of the basic functionality that you’d expect out of an iPod dock alarm clock radio. It tells the time (without wall power), it plays music from pretty much anything, and it will wake you up the morning. It’s doubtful that soothing tunes emanating from your iPod will make waking up any easier, but it’s likely an improvement over the standard buzzer that wakes you daily. You have two alarms that can be set independently of each other, and they can be assigned to every day, weekdays, or weekends. They actually made an effort to make the process of waking up less painful by incorporating a feature that lets you gradually increase the volume of your alarm. This is supposed to ease you into waking up, but I have a feeling it will ease quite a few people into the idea of sleeping with noise. If it still manages to wake you up, just make sure you aren’t in the habit of throwing things at your alarm clock, or, heaven forbid, slamming your hand in the general direction of the snooze button. Do that, and you’ll break your iPod or iPhone, and I won’t feel bad since you’ve been warned.
Now about that dock. It works just like every other dock that accepts various version of iPods and iPhones…crappy. I’ve always hated docks that use an insert to hold the iPod or iPhone you’re trying to fit into it. Its grip is comparable to trying to hold your iPhone while your hand is covered in mayonnaise; the only thing holding it is gravity. This is not likely going to be a problem for you, since the iDevice shouldn’t move after you place it in the dock. But sometimes you have to navigate some menus after you insert it, and that’s where this becomes a problem. It just feels like something is going to break; the iPod, the dock, I’m not sure which, but I don’t love it. Sadly, there really isn’t a way around this, and it’s not completely iHome’s fault. It’s just something of which to be aware.
What’s really nice about the iHome iP9 is that it has controls for scrolling through menus and such. And the experience is quite similar to what you normally get on an iPod. It has two scroll wheels, which click while rotating, just like the original iPod. The tactile feedback that you get with these is awesome, I really like it a lot.
As far as sound goes, you could do a lot worse than this. It gets loud; louder than I thought it would, and I didn’t get it to distort in my testing. It doesn’t have that thick bass you might lust for, but that’s because it doesn’t have a subwoofer. This is the sort of thing that’s going next to your bed, or in the bathroom, not in your entertainment room as your main set of speakers. It certainly looks the part to handle the latter, but you’d likely want something more.
And that about sums up the iHome iP9. It’s everything you want in an iPod dock alarm clock radio combo, and nothing more. It’s just like previous versions of this product, and works just as well. It’s an excellent product, and I’d easily recommend it to anyone looking for a great iPod dock / alarm clock.