I don’t think I am wrong when I make the claim that the Apple iPod has generated more accessories than any other electronic device on the market today. There’s always room for one more iPod accessory right? Today I’m going to review the iHome iH5. This is a clock radio compatible with all iPods that have a docking connector. Hey, you you don’t even need an iPod to use this device. It’s a lot more fun if you do though.
Built-in Automatic frequency control (AFC) for enhanced FM reception
PLL Digital radio tuning
6 watts total power
Dimensions: 10.2 x 3.0 x 6.1 in (258 x 77 x 156 mm)
5 iPod adapters
Audio patch cord
AM antenna loop
AM antenna stand
Available in Black and White, I was sent the Black version. Upon unpacking the device, I was happy to notice that the time and date were already set. Come to find out, that the radio is set by default to EST at the factory. Two AA batteries are installed to keep the time / date and alarm settings in the event of a power outage. I think this is an nice touch to have the clock already configured. It’s always a pain to dig out the manual to figure out how to set the time.
The majority of the controls are located on the top of the radio. Two large wheels control volume (left wheel) and the alarm time setting (right wheel).
Two rows of buttons and one long bar beneath them give you control over the docked iPod and radio. If you have an iPod docked, you can press the left top button to toggle play / pause. The iPod will begin playing music where ever it left off… in a playlist, album, podcast, etc. Pressing the next button will toggle power to the radio. The button next to the radio button will cycle between AM and FM. I was impressed with the FM reception on the iH5. I was able to pull in stations I normally have problems with on other radios. This was even with the attached antenna cable still rolled up. I do wish the iH5 had radio station presets. As is, you have to use the wheel to change the current station. The channel frequency will be shown on the display, so it is easy to change if needed.
The last button on the top row is the Sleep button. You can use this button to keep the iPod or radio playing for 15, 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes before automatically turning off. It will also gradually decrease the volume before it shuts down. This is a nice feature if you like to fall asleep while listening to music. Another bonus is the fact that the volume you use for the sleep function is independent of the wake-to or regular listening volume.
The 2nd row of buttons are the alarm set buttons and wake-to button. Pressing the wake-to button cycles between iPod, radio and buzzer. If you choose iPod and don’t have one plugged in, the alarm will default to the buzzer. This will also happen if the power goes out. Once an alarm is triggered, it will continue to sound for 1hr before it automatically turns off. The snooze / dimmer button has 2 functions. After an alarm is sounded, pressing this button will snooze for 9 minutes. You can continue to press the snooze button several times during the 1hr alarm cycle.
I really wish that this clock radio had dual alarms. I like to wake up to music, but then have a buzzer go off about 30 minutes later to make sure I’m awake. As a result, I have to use a 2nd alarm clock with the iH5.
On the bottom of the clock, you will find the back up battery compartment.
On the face, you see a nice sized LCD display that shows the current time and date. The snooze / dimmer bar controls the backlight for the display. In the image above, the backlight is off.
Here is the display at full bright (there are 3 settings, bright, medium and off). Nice huh? In this image you can also see that the clock is set to wake up with the iPod.
The control buttons are also backlit in amber. FYI: Changing the display brightness has no effect on the button backlight brightness.
On the back of the iH5, you’ll find the back side of the speakers, AC Adapter jack, Line out jack, Time zone button, Clock adjust button, DST switch, Line in jack, FM antenna cable and AM loop antenna socket.
The iPod dock has the familiar connector that will allow you to connect 3g, 4g, and 5g players. To get the right fit, you need to use one of the included 5 adapters. These adapters are made of matching Black plastic and easily snap in place.
Here you see the Nano sized adapter fitted into the docking cavity.
And the Nano securely docked. The iH5 is a great place to keep your iPod because it also charges the batteries while it’s connected.
A small membrane style Infrared remote is also included with the clock radio. You can’t use the remote to set the alarm time, but you can use to set the radio frequency, turn the iPod and radio on / off and adjust volume.
The iH5 uses matched 2 inch Strontium-Ferrite speakers with acoustically tuned deep-port Reson8 chambers. I think you’re supposed to be impressed by that last sentence, but it really doesn’t mean much to me… I can just tell you that this little clock radio has really good sound. I’m pretty spoiled by my Audioengine 5 speakers, but the iH5 is a good sounding little system that works great as a clock radio and even as your only iPod speaker system for a smallish sized room / dorm, etc.
The iHome iH5 clock radio would be perfect if it had a few extra features: radio presets, dual alarms and even a way to specify which playlists, artists, etc. to wake up to. As it is, if you happen to be listening to metal rock before you go to bed, that’s what you’ll be awakened by. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to be woke up by something a little more mellow ;o) All that said, I like the iH5 and am going to leave it on my night stand as my primary clock radio… at least till something better comes along.