2 IN 1 Stereo Speaker/Headphone System review: 2 IN 1 Stereo Speaker/Headphone System

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MSRP: $49.99
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2 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Headphones that do double duty as speakers; affordable.

The Bad As speakers, they sound pretty bad; as headphones, they only sound OK; not all that comfortable as headphones; questionable long-term durability of the hinges and rotation points that will be getting frequent use as you go back and forth from headphone to speaker mode.

The Bottom Line iHome's iHMP5 2-in-1 speaker/headphone system is an intriguing concept, but it falls short in the performance and comfort departments.

4.7 Overall
  • Design 4.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 4.0

In the marketing materials for its latest audio accessory, iHome asks the question: "Why buy speakers and headphones?"

For most people, the answer is pretty simple: Because you want speakers that sound good when you're listening at home, and a good pair of headphones when you're on the go. Products that offer the Transformer-like capability to morph from headphones to speakers have been tried before (the Jabra BT8030 comes to mind), but it's not easy to make them sound good in both roles, particularly at a budget price point.

So, has iHome managed to buck the trend with its iHMP5 speaker/headphone system? In short, no. However, that doesn't mean this product is totally without merit.

We did like the iHMP5's whole duality aspect, which it handled pretty well. To go from headphone mode you connect the two earcups and "a magnetic proximity switch activates the amplifier to increase output for listening in a room." Two AAA batteries in the left earcup power the speakers and you can swivel the two earpieces so they fire up at an angle. (Just be sure you don't snap the delicate plastic articulating hinges.)

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