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We’re amazed how many iPod speaker docks these days still won’t play nicely with the iPhone--it’s been two-and-a-half years, people! Which is one of the reasons we’re so excited about iHome’s iP1. Besides being iPhone-friendly, it also looks great, a piece we wouldn’t mind having in our living room. The sound is a step up as well, which is fitting since the iP1 is the first in iHome’s new Studio Series line. And here’s the kicker--the iP1 features some high-tech circuitry that makes it rock even harder at the touch of a button: the Bongiovi button (more on that in a bit).
The iP1 features a pair of 4-inch woofers and 1-inch dome tweeters mounted on a smoky acrylic face. Besides the dock connector, which sports Power, Volume Up/Down, and the aforementioned Bongiovi button, the unit is free of any extra bells or whistles, giving it a clean, elegant look. At about 16.25 inches wide and 7 inches high, the iP1 can fit just about anywhere. In addition to the dock connector, there’s a line-in jack on the back, for use with practically any audio source. And if you’ve got video stored on your iPod, the iP1 will let you output it to your television, courtesy of the component video outs.
The iP1 offers big sound for a home office or other small space. The "Bon Jovi" button seriously rocks.
More than just a pretty face.
Sound quality of the iP1 was surprisingly good given its small size. iHome has incorporated Bongiovi Acoustics’ Digital Power Station audio processing, which widens the soundstage in addition to boosting bass response. Audiophiles might cringe at the idea of after-the-fact processing, but to our ears, activating the Bongiovi DPS button improved pretty much every kind of audio, from podcasts to rock tracks and Run DMC jams. Bongiovi Acoustics is helmed by Tony Bongiovi, who built NYC’s Power Station Studios in the 1970s and is cousin to Jon Bon Jovi, whose tracks also benefited from the Bongiovi button during our testing of the iP1.
We do wish the unit were a bit louder overall, for use in bigger spaces. But for desks, spare bedrooms, and other smaller areas, the iP1 has plenty of power. The included remote is thoughtfully laid out, although we had occasional problems with it skipping lines as we scrolled through large lists of artists or tracks on our iPods. You can adjust bass and treble from the remote, although since there’s no display on the iP1, there’s no way to tell what your current settings are.