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Imagine every feature you could ever want from an iPod dock. Go on, make a list. Ours includes AirPlay, solid sound quality, an iPod charging dock, and a reasonable price tag. This is good news for the iW1, which includes all these features and a boatload of others we didn’t even know we wanted.
iHome’s new flagship AirPlay speaker comes packing touch capacitive controls, a remote control so you never have to use the touch capacitive controls, and an app for your iOS device so you never have to use the remote. Sure, it’s redundant, but certain settings—like shuffle, mute, and a toggle for the all-important Bongiovi Acoustic mode (which aims to equalize the music so that vocals truly shine)—can only be accessed by remote or app. We found that most music did in fact sound better with the Bongiovi Acoustics switched on (which is enabled by default). Many songs sounded flat after turning it off, but you can also perfect the iW1’s sound with bass and treble controls. The iHome sounds great at midlevel volume, but crackles a tad on full tilt. AirPlay works, but reliability depends largely on your Wi-Fi network, and there is a bit of latency between button presses. However, its convenience far outweighs these minor quirks.
In more ways than one, the iW1 is the boom box of a new generation. It sits on a charging pad so it never has to be unplugged from that hard-to-reach outlet when you decide to carry it around—a feat that’s easily accomplished due to the lightweight 6lb body and carrying handle. Even though AirPlay won’t work without Wi-Fi, you can easily plug your iOS device into the USB port on the iW1’s back and rock out in the park.
The bottom line. The iW1 is a good mid-priced AirPlay option. The remote, app, and rechargeable battery make it ultra-convenient to use in a wide variety of situations—and it’s got great sound to boot.
iHome iW1 Speaker Dock
Big sound. Rechargeable battery. Works with AirPlay. Can charge your iPhone.
Touch capacitive plastic top is a smudge factory. USB input doesn’t charge iPads. Bass is a bit flat.