This article first appeared in HWM Oct 2011.
For the audiophile, good sound is essential no matter the setting. The iHome iA100 speaker dock is one that’s intended for your bedside, and aims to ensure that dulcet tones accompany your journey to dreamland as well as greet you at the beginning of a new day.
The iA100’s boxy, yet modern design should look at home on any surface in your living space. Speaking of looks, the iA100 has a matte-black finish on its top surface and a cloth grill for both the front and sides. Silver bumpers border the speakers on both the left and right, adding to overall robustness.
Decked out with a host of features, the iA100 supports a wide range of iPod devices, including the iPad. In our testing, devices fitted snugly into the dock, with a rear-positioned kickstand ensuring extra stability; that was also the case even when the relatively large and unwieldy iPad was docked. For those who still listen to the radio, FM functionality is also included along with alarm clock features. Not just content to provide a hardware experience, users can also download the iHome + Sleep app for your Apple device, which lets you convert the iA100 into a touchscreen alarm clock. To top it all off, the device can also function as a speakerphone; playback via Bluetooth connection is also supported.
We put the speaker through its paces using a wide variety of test tracks loaded onto a 160GB iPod Classic. The iHome iA100 performed reasonably well though wasn’t quite good enough to seriously impress. On distortion-heavy rock tracks such as Sail On Soothsayer by Buckethead, the rhythm guitar was muddy and the notes lacked definition. Similarly for techno- and bass-heavy tracks, the lower frequencies were loose and sprawling. Run-of-the-mill pop however, fared reasonably well. We do like how the provision of an EQ button and the ability to change the bass, mid and treble settings lets you tweak the sound (to an extent) according to your own preferences.
Audio performance aside, the alarm clock feature is excellent. Syncing the clocks for both your smart device and the iA100 is as simple as pressing the Clock Adjustment button. With the iHome + Sleep application, you can program alarms for individual days and times which eliminates the hassle of having to set them every night.
Priced at S$349, the iA100 isn’t cheap but it does come with a bunch of features that make it acceptably useful. Audio performance is suitable for most types of casual listening. If you aren’t extremely particular about sound, and want a bedside dock that offers some features that work in tandem with your Apple device, the iA100 is definitely worth a second thought.