iHome Brings the Noise



I’ve had an iHome combination speaker bar/dock since I adopted my first iPhone, so when I was asked to take a look at some of their newer wares I was happy to oblige. The first item I checked out was their iB35 over-ear headphones. I’ve been shifting away from earbuds of late – and I don’t always want to walk around with my high-dollar Star Wars STREETS by 50 – so these seemed like suitable option.

With a high-gloss black finish and red accents, these ‘phones certainly look the part. Their biggest selling point, however, is the flat connector cable. I’ve never owned a set of flat cable headphones before, but this design tweak does indeed prevent the severe tangling you often see with traditional round cables. It also adds to their visual appeal, and makes for a sleek-looking accessory.

The overall sound quality is fine, but not exactly mind-blowing. However, at a $25 price point it’s fidelity is more than acceptable. Sadly, these haven’t become my new go-to headphones – not because of the lack of things like in-line controls, but because they tend to sit a little uncomfortably. Something about the ear cup design and headband rigidity make them feel a tad awkward, and sour an otherwise solid value.

Against all odds it was instead iHome’s iB85 Bluetooth headphones that became the newest addition to my day bag. Though sporting a similar look to the iB35s – my review unit was glossy black with ample red and silver accents – this set is amazingly comfortable and impressive reliable.

Look, I love Bluetooth everything… in theory. In practice, though, there are often sound quality and interference issues, not to mention problems with battery life. iHome’s iB85s suffer from none of these. Foldable for easy storage and boasting a responsive and intuitive integrated control ring on the left ear cup, they’re perfect for enjoying music or podcasts even while working out, taking care of housework or other such activities where dangling cables prove a constant nuisance.

The stellar audio quality of music, however, doesn’t exactly translate to phone calls, and conversations sound a little tinny. Still, things like great battery life – I use mine daily and can easily go a full week between charges – more than make up for it. At around $120, they aren’t exactly throw-away headphones, but if you’re looking for high-end cans at a mid-range price the iB85s are an easy recommendation.

While I’m always on the lookout for new headphones, the iHome iPL22 stands out as a device I didn’t realize I needed. This combination iPhone Lightening dock and alarm clock radio admittedly has a bit of a throwback aesthetic, but it’s quickly become a bedside fixture. Its diminutive design and dimmable display make it a discreet accessory, and its customizable alarms, programmable snooze and adjustable sleep timer make it yours.

Initially I was turned off by its iSleep companion app, but a recent update has nicely refined this offering. Swiping left for alarms and right to adjust timers, the background image, the current weather display and a host of other settings helps make an expansive system manageable. And even if you’ve already acclimated to the native iOS alarm settings, the iPL22 provides a great charging station and a solid volume boost thanks to its enhanced speaker.

At around $70, this is another item I’m quick to recommend, the only caveat being the docking mechanism itself. The iHome iPL22 doesn’t accommodate bulky cases, so unless you feel like stripping your iPhone each night low-profile, open-ended clip cases are your best bet. Of course if you’re unwilling to forfeit protection for convenience, Speck’s CandyShell Flip also works nicely.

Review materials provided by: iHome

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