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iHome iH27BR (black) review: iHome iH27BR (black)

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MSRP: $79.99

The Good Fold-flat design for travel; runs off 4 AA batteries or included power supply; alarm clock functionality allows you to wake to iPod songs; line-in/line out; remote included; SRS mode widens soundstage to provide better stereo separation and improved sound; video output for displaying iPod video on TV.

The Bad No radio; short on bass; a bit bulky for travel; you can't navigate your iPod's menu system using the included remote; video and alarm functions may not work with latest batch of iPods.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a portable iPod speaker system/alarm clock that can also serve as a home-based system--and you don't need a radio--the iH27 may fit the bill.

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6.5 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6

SDI Technologies adds to its line of iPod-compatible clock audio systems with the iH27, a model designed for travel that's powered by an included power supply or 4 optional AA batteries. Notice how we said "clock audio system" not "clock radio." That's because--unlike most other iHome models--the iH27 isn't equipped with an AM/FM radio; it simply plays back what's on your iPod through its stereo speakers and has a built-in clock with alarm functionality.

Weighing 2.3 lbs., the iH27 is lighter and smaller that the iH9, iHome's more full-featured iPod clock radio. (And unlike that model, it's currently only available in black.) That said, it's still fairly substantial for a portable system. However, what makes it more suitcase-friendly is its ability to fold flat (an inexpensive padded carrying case is included). Once you get to your destination you can then unpack it and fold the system up so the speaker sits upright. It's a pretty nifty design, but we would have preferred if had been shrunk down somewhat. Also, the shiny black plastic tends to be a fingerprint magnet.

There are a couple of benefits to the system being beefier than your typical tiny, portable iPod speaker system. First, while the iH27--which carries a retail price of $100, but can be had for $80 online--is designed for travel, it can do double duty in your home as well. It also sounds a bit better than some of the small mobile speakers out there, though not surprisingly, it doesn't deliver full, rich sound (read: it suffers from thin bass).

The product ships with "sleeves" or dock adapters that make all older dockable iPods fit snugly and securely in the cradle. When your iPod is in the dock and the iH27 is plugged in, your iPod (with the exception of the third-gen iPod) will draw power from the system and recharge. You choose songs, playlists, or podcasts with the iPod's scroll wheel as usual, but hear the audio through the iH27's speakers.

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