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iHome iH41BR review: iHome iH41BR

iHome iH41BR

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
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 reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
3 min read

There are a lot of iPod/iPhone speaker systems out there that leave your device sitting in the dock vertically. That may be fine for the iPod Classic, but when you're dealing with an iPod Touch, an iPhone, or a fourth-generation iPod Nano, you want to switch into landscape mode to watch video.


iHome iH41BR

The Good

The iHome iH41BR rotates 90 degrees so you can watch videos on your iPod Touch, iPod Nano, or iPhone in landscape mode; built-in alarm; remote included.

The Bad

No radio; no GSM-shielding for iPhone; would be nice if you could tilt the speaker up slightly for a better viewing angle in certain conditions.

The Bottom Line

The iHome iH41BR's rotating design makes it a great way to enjoy bedside videos from your iPod Touch or iPod Nano--we just wish it had a little more flexibility.

Enter the iHome iH41BR. This simple iPod speaker/alarm isn't fancy but it has one key feature: it rotates 90 degrees, which enables you to put your iPod Touch or iPhone in landscape mode and watch movies in their wide-screen format. The little trick here is that the clock rotates as you rotate the speaker and essentially lay it flat on its side. iHome also includes a small remote.

The iH41BR is a relatively small speaker, so you're just not going to get great sound out of it. But the idea is you'd stick it on a bedside table next to you and watch a movie at close range; the speaker puts out ample volume and is fine for casual listening. However, it really does sound like a clock radio--though it's missing the radio. It's also missing GSM shielding, so you'll have to stick your iPhone in airplane mode (turn off the cell radio) to avoid causing interference on the speakers.

To be clear, there are no moving parts or swivel mechanism involved here. You literally just tip the speaker over (there's some rubber pads on the bottom of the speaker that extend around its curved corner). Aside from the alarm basics (sleep/snooze), the only "extra" here is a 3.5mm line-in port, which allows you to use the speaker with external audio sources.

The iH41BR's clock display adjusts accordingly when you flip it on its side.

One thing we would have liked is an adjustable foot at the front of the speaker that would allow you to tilt the speaker back a little when it's in horizontal mode. As it is, you really need to have the iH41BR at eye level to view it comfortably. If you're lying in bed and have the unit on a bedside table, it should work well. However, we were sitting in a chair and had it set up on a desk and we needed to tilt the speaker back (we folded up a paper napkin and stuck it underneath the speaker to get the right angle).

The only other landscape-friendly iPod speaker we know of is the Philips DC910 and the DC912. Those models don't sound as good as they should, given their larger size and more expensive price.

All in all, we liked the whole concept of the iH41BR--and it's fairly affordable at around $60 with a small remote that controls basic iPod functions. But a few design tweaks (the ability to easily tilt the unit back) and the inclusion of a radio would have made us more excited about this product. At this price, we don't expect GSM shielding for the iPhone, but hopefully a future version of this product will offer that feature to make it even more iPhone friendly.


iHome iH41BR

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 6Performance 6