I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who are like my family – we have more far devices than we have electrical outlets. Although I have a Charge4All charging tube that can charge my phone, my Sony readers, and my iPod touch, I still have to use the standard iPad charger. I also need an alarm clock and a lamp on my bedside table – that’s at least 4 things I need to plug into two outlets. When Julie offered me the iHome iB969 Charging Station, I was very happy to say yes. This station has the ability to charge all my devices, including the iPad, and it offers a compact stand to hold all the devices as they charge. It can even sync one iPod or iPhone as it charges if you have the iB969 connected to a computer. Let’s give it a closer look.
What’s in the box
AC power adapter
36” sync cable
12” mini USB cable
12” USB to 4mm plug (to charge Sony readers)
1 mini USB to micro USB adapter
2 iPhone inserts
The iB969 Charging station is black and gunmetal gray. It’s made of plastic and has a rubbery insert on the tray in front of the iPod docks. The charging station is 9” wide X 1.9” tall X 6.75” deep. The tray slides open to hold larger devices. It’s about 8.9” deep when the tray is extended.
To get started, you simply connect the AC adapter to the iB969 and then plug it in to a wall outlet. You use the 36” sync cable to connect the charging station to a USB port on your computer. A blue LED between the two iPhone docks lights up to show the unit is powered.
On the bottom are two USB ports and two cord wraps. Each USB port has an A/B switch associated with it. The left USB port acts as a quick charger for an iPad when it is in the A position. You’ll have to supply your own Apple cable. The B position for this switch will charge Sony readers, Kindle, nook, and other ebook readers, Blackberries, and other devices. The USB port on the right is designed for devices that charge with a USB cable, including all the non-iPad devices in the above list. The documentation says that you should try the switch in the A or the B position to see which works best for your device when connecting to this USB port.
There are two iPhone/iPod docks on the iB969. The left one is a standard charge dock. This dock can also sync your iPhone/iPod as it charges. There is a “sync” switch to the left of the standard charge dock that toggles sync on/off. The dock on the right side is a quick charge dock; it doesn’t sync. Be sure to use the two included iPhone inserts, or the inserts that came with your Apple device. If you don’t have the correct insert for your device, you can contact iHome to purchase them. You can charge two iPhones/iPods at the same time in the iHome iB969.
At the back of the iB969 is a stand to hold an iPad while it is being charged. I was happy to see that there was enough room in the stand to fit an iPad wearing the Belkin Grip Vue case. Of course, the iPad lays in the stand in the horizontal position to leave the docking connector free. As I mentioned earlier, you do have to provide your own Apple cable. Simply plug it into the correct USB port on the bottom and set the switch to the A position for use with iPads. My iPad started charging immediately when I plugged it up.
There are two other included cables that can be used with the other USB port. One has a 4mm round plug for use with the Sony readers. Actually, this round plug isn’t used by the latest generation of Sony readers. I do still have several of the older models available, so I tried charging my red PRS-505 with the Sony cable. This cable is thin and flexible enough that I could plug it in and guide it out the cable slot. I extended the tray, and the Sony reader was a perfect fit. This setup works great for charging the older Sony readers.
A mini USB cable and a mini-to-micro adapter also come with the iB969. I don’t have any devices that charge with a mini USB, but my LG enV3 phone and my Sony PRS-650 both charge with a micro USB cable. I was able to charge both my phone and my 650 reader using the mini USB with the micro adapter. I don’t like the included mini USB cable. It’s too short and too stiff to get it wrapped around from the port and guided out through the cable slot without causing the charging station to be tilted up on that side. Since my devices both came with mini USB cables, I can just replace the included cable/adapter with one of my own cables. They are much longer, so I can just use the cord wraps on the bottom of the iHome charging station to corral the extra length.
The iHome iB969 Charging Station is a nice, compact station for charging up to four devices at once. Since more and more devices are adopting the micro USB cable as their standard connector, it would be nice if the iB969 came with a longer, thinner, more flexible cable with a micro connector and a micro-to-mini adapter. It’s nice to be able to charge four devices, including my iPad, at the same time using just one outlet.