iHome iHM79 Rechargeable Mini Speakers review: iHome iHM79 Rechargeable Mini Speakers

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.7
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The iHome iHM79 compact speakers sound relatively decent for their small size and condense into a small package that travels well. The speakers are battery powered and rechargeable via USB.

The Bad The speakers deliver some distortion at higher volumes and some hissing at lower volumes. The left/right channels can only be separated by about 21 inches.

The Bottom Line Though you can't expect too much from these iHome iHM79 mini speakers, they do offer relatively decent sound for their small size, and they travel well.

Editors' Top Picks

Capsule speakers remain a niche product, but they offer some appeal to laptop users who want better sound but don't want to lug around a set of more standard-size computer speakers. The only drawback to going small is that even if the speakers sound better than most internal laptop speakers, they usually still sound pretty mediocre. What's slightly different about the iHM79s, then, is that iHome has made these mini speakers a tad larger than its early capsule models, and the result is that they sound better but take up a little more room in your computer bag.

The speakers weigh just less than half a pound (combined) and come in four colors, black, silver, white, and red. They have circular bases with a diameter of 2.5 inches, and are designed to expand accordion-style when in use to a full height of 2.75 inches. When traveling, you collapse each speaker--chopping half an inch off the height--then attach the bases together to form a sort of football-shape unit that fits in an included cloth pouch. The speakers link together via magnetic bases, and the manual does warn you to keep the magnets clear of computers and monitors (though we didn't experience any problems).

Each speaker is powered by a rechargeable battery. To charge the batteries, iHome provides a special split USB cable that also has an integrated 3.5mm minijack cable to plug into the audio input on your computer or an audio device such as an iPhone or an MP3 player. You can charge via your PC's USB port, or invest in a USB wall charger. (Travel with a multiport USB charger, for instance, and you'll be able to juice up the speakers and your iPod or music phone with a single wall wart; the Lenmar ACUSB4 ably powered both the iHome speakers and our iPod Touch.)

Editors' Top Picks

 

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Color Red
  • Speaker System Type Portable speakers
  • Speaker Type Portable speakers
  • Amplification Type active
  • Connectivity Technology wired
  • Type Speakers
About The Author

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He's also the author of the novels Knife Music and The Big Exit. Both titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, and Nook e-books.