In the past, we've looked at countless iPod audio systems that provide adequate to excellent iPod playback but lack other desirable features such as a CD player and AM/FM radio. The i199 from iLuv (the accessory division of discount manufacturer jWIN) strives to bring an end to iPod speaker systems that come up short. It's got an integrated iPod dock, CD player, AM/FM radio, USB port, and line-in jack, so it's equally adept at playing back any iPod-based music, audio CDs, and MP3 and WMA files from CD-Rs or USB devices. Furthermore, the i199 sports something iLuv calls "Bluepin," a Bluetooth-based wireless interface that allows the unit to receive as well as transmit audio. This means you can not only stream music from any compatible Bluetooth device to the i199's speakers, but you can also transmit any of the audio sources the i199 can play to any Bluetooth device--such as wireless Bluetooth headphones.
Available in black (i199BLK) or white (i199WHT), the i199 is coated with a glossy plastic that doesn't show fingerprints. About the size of a bread box, it can easily fit on virtually any shelf, nightstand, or countertop. The i199 has a vibrant blue LCD readout with three brightness settings--in addition to the time, the display can show file and track information when playing MP3s or WMAs via the USB port or data CD.
The i199 features a dual-alarm function with some impressive flexibility. The alarms can be set to wake to any source--iPod, radio, CD, and so forth--or an alarm tone. When an alarm is sounded, the audio begins to gradually rise until it peaks at a level you customize when you initially program the alarm. The volume customization also means you can lull yourself gently to sleep (the "sleep" function can be set in 30-minute increments) at a low volume level but still be awakened with a loud enough signal to get you out of bed in the morning. (Of course, a snooze bar is available for procrastinators.)
The eight-button remote control bundled with the i199 is small and has a rounded plastic edge that fits comfortably in your hand. On it you'll find most of the same buttons as on the top of the unit.