iHome iH69B review: iHome iH69B

Another problem is the lack of input toggling. When you have more than one source hooked up (PC, iPod, and auxiliary), the audio gets all mixed together. On the one hand, that's not bad if you're listening to music on the iPod but still want to hear the notification sounds from your computer (inbound instant messages and e-mails, for instance). But the optimal solution would've been for a "source select" button, with "mix" being the fourth option. It's not hard, and it wouldn't have cost a lot to add.

As for sound: while it's not awful, it's a step down from that of the iH70. The iH70s simply sound richer overall. Or, you could say the iH69s' sound is leaner is comparison, though neither model delivers a ton of bass. On a good note, the speakers use the same Reson8 design that the iHome clock radios do, but what makes the iH69s sound better is the simple fact that you get better stereo separation from having the two speakers set to the width of your computer screen (or even a little wider). Better yet, when you're at your computer, you're sitting at the perfect distance to get the best sound from these speakers (3 feet away). As we said with the iH70s, don't expect booming base or to fill a large room with rich sound, but these speakers would pass as a stereo system in a smaller room (like a dorm room)--just not a very good one.

The iH69s don't quite measure up to Bose's entry-level $100 speakers, the Companion 2 Series II, which retail for slightly more but don't feature the built-in iPod dock of the iHome iH69. The difference isn't huge, however.

It's also worth noting that the iH69 will work with most late-model iPods and iPhones, but the lack of GSM shielding requires iPhones to be switched into airplane mode (no calls) to avoid speaker interference.

Like we said with the iH70, this is a pretty nifty setup if you have an iPod or iPhone and like the idea of being able to conserve space by having a docking station built right into your computer speakers. The iH70 certainly does sound better than the iH69, but as of this writing, it costs about $50 more. Of course, the big question is whether the iH70 sounds $50 better. No. Maybe $20, but not $50, which probably makes the iH69 the better value at the current price points.

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