Are you shopping for a portable speaker for your favorite Bluetooth enabled device? Take a look at iHome. They have a large variety of speakers, so if you can’t find something there, you probably don’t know what you want. They recently sent me the funky looking iBT4 wireless Bluetooth speaker which I’ve been testing for a couple weeks. Long enough to be able to tell you what I think…
Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.
With its retro mini boombox design it might seem like the iBT4 has one foot in the past. On the other hand, it’s available in fresh modern colors like the green you see here. It also comes in purple and grey. The speaker has a soft rubber coating on all parts that makes it easy to pick up and transport. Especially using the large handle.
It’s medium sized at 7.72″ W x 7.76″ H x 5.71″ D and weighs 3.09 lbs. The front has a large speaker grill and inside are Reson8 speaker chambers offering SRS TruBass sound enhancement and digital sound processing that provides extra bass and clarity.
On the back you’ll find a telescoping antenna if you fancy listening to the built in digital FM radio. You can also use the line out and line in jacks to connect to audio devices without Bluetooth capability. A short 3.5mm audio cable is included for easy connection to other devices. There’s also a power port and a reset switch.
The iBT4 is powered by an internal lithium-ion battery that can play music for up to 7 hours on a charge or using the included AC adapter which is also used for recharging the internal battery.
The iBT4 is controlled by the knobs and buttons located on the top. The knobs are big and chunky, making them easy to manipulate. The one on the left turns the speaker on and allows you to switch between the FM radio and Bluetooth modes. The knob on the opposite side controls volume. There’s also a white on black LCD that displays the radio station, volume level and pairing status. The three buttons below the display make it easy to tune radio stations and navigate through the music tracks of your paired audio device. The play/pause/pair button functions as you would expect.
I tested the iBT4 with my Samsung Galaxy S3. It paired very easily and I was happy that the next and prev track buttons actually worked, along with the play/pause button. This speaker sounds good even when turned up to the max volume setting. At the highest setting it does not distort but it’s not insanely loud at that setting (20) either. In a small or medium sized room music sounds very good. In a noisier environment (I took it with me in the car), it doesn’t sound as full and rich. Overall, the sound quality won’t blow you away, but it has a decently thumpy bass and equally decent highs. I enjoyed using it in my medium sized office.
The addition of the FM radio is nice too. The tuned channel will be remembered even when cycling power. However, there are no channel presets, so you can’t easily switch between channels.
The iHome iBT4 has a mid size price, mid sized form factor and a mid sized voice. If you like the style and the price, it’s a good value for your money.