Product: Radio, speaker dock for iPhone, iPod touch
Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch (any version)
Availability: Out now
The iHome iA63 is a fantastic speaker/dock for the iPhone and iPod touch that really does it all. In addition to being a compact sound system that charges every version of those devices, it’s got an FM radio and is an alarm clock with built-in functionality to let you drift off to sleep listening to music. But iHome has taken it two steps further by creating apps that let your iDevice interact with the iA63, controlling and expanding its functionality, or working as standalone apps when you’re away from home.
Let’s start with the iHome itself. At less than 8″ tall and 7″ wide, it’s extremely compact with a motorized, rotatable scoop taking up most of the face. The scoop isn’t the speakers, however; those (two of them) are mounted facing the top and side of the device. The iDevice docks in the middle of the scoop. A series of small buttons (along with an included remote) give you complete functionality: selecting iPOd or radio input, volume, and FM station (and a button to set preset stations). The bedtime button lets you set how long the iHome will play audio before turning the sound off (90, 60, 30, or 15 minutes).
On top is a Snooze button in the perfect place for a groggy slap, and in the back along with the power supply and radio antenna is a button that lets you sync the time with your iPhone, and an Aux In jack if you have another device you want to play through the iHome.
For its small size, the iA63’s speakers offer a lot of volume, filling my living room even on the lower settings. The FM antenna was able to pick up my local stations despite interference that gave our previous dock a lot of static.
The iHome has another gimmick up its sleeve, though; the dock rotates, meaning you can use your iDevice in landscape mode for viewing videos at your bedside.
I’m going to touch briefly on one of the apps available for the iHome: it’s called iHome+sleep and is available as a free download. The app (which works fine on its own), allows the iPhone to interact with and expand the iHome’s functionality, letting you choose the music you want to wake up and fall asleep to and set multiple alarms (and even naps). It also provides social media functions that let you send your sleep times and wake-ups to Facebook and Twitter. The app also gives you weather info to give you a head start on your day.
Simply as a speaker dock, the iHome iA63 is good. With the FM radio and alarm clock, it’s great. But with the added functionality from the app and the ability to monitor your sleep habits, modify the alarm functions, and watch video in landscape format, it’s simply amazing what you get for $100.