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.)