iHome2go iPod speaker alarm clock review

On the design front, the iHome2Go leaves a lot to be desired. Unless you are a fan of the Heath-Robinson teasmaid look of course.

Perhaps that is a little unfair, but only a little. When it comes to aesthetics there are certainly better looking speaker and charger combinations for your iPod, but they won’t wake you up in the morning.

Compared to our reviewer’s travel alarm clock of choice, a folding Seiko digital thingy less than the size of a pack of playing cards, the iHome2Go is hardly the most portable either. But then again, that alarm clock cannot wake us to the macabre vocals of Nick Cave and his Murder Ballads album.

Many of the things that made its big brother, the iHome 5, so popular remain: ability to charge your iPod while it is docked, the excellent remote control, wake and sleep to iPod settings, adjustable display brightness for example.

In use it is just as easy as well: arrive, dock iPod, set alarm, press sleep and that’s all it takes to be awoken to your iPod music.

The inclusion of adapters so that pretty much whatever iPod you own it will work, which in reality means any docking iPod (3rd gen, 4th gen, 5th gen, nano and mini) as well as shuffle, is welcome.

As it is a travel charger you can plug it in no matter what country you find yourself sleeping in. We like the gentle wake functionality, with the volume slowly ascending rather than coming in at full pelt immediately. And we like the "sure alarm" battery back up so the alarm does not fail even if the power supply does.

When it comes to audio quality, the iHome2Go just did not produce the same warm and rich sound that we remember fondly from its big brother, this despite using the same Reson8 sound chamber technology.

We can only assume there is something different with the speaker construction itself or our review unit, as it was definitely "thin" rather than rich. But unfortunately for iHome, this is not just about sound it is also about real world portability, and we don’t think it truly cuts the mustard there either.

The speakers fold flat into the unit for easier packing, and it comes complete with a padded pouch that serves as protection for the device but little else.

Certainly we would not be happy with slipping our iPod into the front sleeve as shown on the box illustration, nor could we fit the travel power adapter into the pouch and come away feeling the iHome2Go would go undamaged.

At 210 x 145 x 43mm in size, with the speakers folded flat, it’s not too bulky. But things go slightly pear shaped when you take the weight into account. At 784g sans batteries, power supply, iPod or carry case, compared to 78g for that aforementioned Seiko alarm clock including power supply and case, it is hardly good for your carry on baggage allowance or handbag when travelling.

A true portable device does not need to be hooked to the nearest electricity socket, and neither does the iHome2Go as it will run off of AA cells quite happily, if not for very long. Assuming you are only listening to a few minutes of music each morning as you wake, this should not be a problem.

If you want to listen to, and charge your iPod for an extended period, then like us, you may find yourself being disappointed after the briefest hour or two. iHome have covered the battery consumption issue to some degree, in that a travel lock feature prevents the unit from powering up during transit, but this does not stop batteries wearing down quickly when you do want to use the thing.

As well as the AA cells, you will also need a couple of watch battery affairs, one for the clock backup and another for the remote.

Verdict

The iHome2Go is all about compromise, and if what you want is something that can wake you up with your iPod wherever you may be, then maybe it fits the bill.

As long as you are prepared to make those compromises with regard to sound quality, real world portability and battery consumption that is.