iHome iA100 review:

iHome iA100

Beyond that, the app has integrated weather updates (it displays a stripped-down version of the weather forecast from the Weather Channel), the ability to set reminders to go off when you wake up, and you can even set the app to automatically post messages to your Twitter and Facebook accounts when you wake up and/or go to sleep. We're not sure you're going to want or need all the options that are available, but it's kind of cool that there's so much here.

The app also keeps statistics of what times you wake up, how many times you hit the snooze bar, and what songs you like to wake to most frequently. To tweak bass and treble settings you have to go to the unit itself (or hit the EQ button on the included remote), but the app does have a dimmer setting for the clock that's displayed on the iPad while you're running the app. (Note: you can use the app with other iPod speakers, but some functions, such as the stat keeping, will be disabled, though the alarms will work just fine.)

We'd seen the app on earlier products, but iHome has worked out some early bugs and continues to improve it with small feature enhancements. All in all, the concept of making what's essentially a robust, software upgradable alarm clock is a great way to go. That said, it would be more ideal if the app automatically launched when you docked your iPhone (alas, you have to launch it yourself, but that's an Apple issue).

How does the iA100 sound? Well, very good for a clock radio. Compact as it is, it plays pretty loud and offers reasonable clarity and bass (relative to other products of its ilk). There's a special "B" button for engaging the Bongiovi DPS Acoustics that essentially boosts the volume level and widens the soundstage. We're not sure why you would every leave it off (yes, the sound is clearly better with it turned on), but we suppose that if there wasn't a switch, you wouldn't know the difference between having it on and having it off.

What's interesting is that the unit fires sound from both the front and sides. This gives you a litter bigger sound, but we can't say the bass or treble were all that distinguished. If you're looking at strengths, we'd have to say it's the midrange, so expect this to impress the most with acoustical material. To be clear, we'd go a little easier on the sound quality if this were a $99 unit, but we're being harder because it's $200.

The speakerphone works well. It's a Bluetooth 2.1 connection (you can't run phone conversations through the dock connection) and what's nice is that you can either hit the end/talk button on the unit itself or answer and end calls using the included remote. You can also stream music to the iA100 from your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or another Bluetooth-enabled device.

As far as the competition goes, the $150 Altec Lansing Octiv Stage MP450 offers a more minimalist approach; far fewer features are built in to the dock itself, but so long as your iPad is docked and loaded with apps, you probably won't miss them. We'd say the iHome sounds better with music, but we loved the swivel design of the Altec, which lets you pivot the iPad into landscape (horizontal) mode for optimized video viewing. The iLuv iMM747 rounds out the group.

In the end, we liked the iA100 and thought it was a versatile, decent-sounding iPad/iPod clock-radio system that's packed with features. Is it worth $200? That's up to you to decide based on the type of system you're looking for. But we could more strongly recommend it if it were priced less than $150.

What you'll pay

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • ELAC Uni-Fi UB5

    Starting at: $499.00
    4.5 stars

    The ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 shattered our expectations for the sound quality we could expect from...

  • LG SH7B

    Starting at: $397.00
    4.5 stars

    The LG SH7B proves how far affordable sound bar/wireless subwoofer systems have come,...

  • ELAC Debut B6

    Starting at: $279.99
    5 stars

    The ELAC Debut B6s offer sound quality that beats speakers that sell for more than double...

  • Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73-LR

    Starting at: $749.00
    4.5 stars

    The Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73-LR is, hands down, the very best-sounding bookshelf/surround...


Discuss: iHome iA100

Conversation powered by Livefyre