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Just back from our Maui trip, where I had the chance to test-drive the iHome iH16G portable iPod dock/alarm clock/stereo system. Made to hold either 4 “AA” batteries or use the supplied universal voltage adaptor, I was blown away by how a tiny unit like this (7 1/2″ high x 2 1/2″ wide) could deliver good sound on the go. We’re not big TV watchers on a vacation, but having your own tunes to come home to after a day spent snorkeling in the water is well appreciated.

A word of caution though: the unit will NOT charge the iPod when operating on batteries. It’ll need the AC adaptor for that. However if you’re running on battery power, the alarm clock will operate. A tiny button cell battery is included in the event of a power failure or accidental disconnection of the AC. If either of these should happen, the current time and alarm settings will be temporarily maintained.

How it Works

The unit comes with an insert that will clicks in and out to accommodate iPods old and new. One side is for the Classic/Touch and the other is specifially for the Nano.

I tested a current iPod Touch and a 3rd generation Nano. If you take the insert out, the unit will work with older models, such as our 60GB 5th generation iPod. It even worked with my “antique” first generation click wheel 20GB iPod!

Although I don’t own any non-Apple MP3 players, it is possible to play them on the iH16 via the the line-out jack and purchasing an audio cable on the company website or otherwise. When I went to the website to look up the cable, the iH16G wasn’t included in the drop-down list. When I looked under the iH15, I did see a patch cord for the iHome portable products, that I assume would do the trick. This five dollar accessory will connect both CD and MP3 players to the iHome speakers.

Clock Features

In addition to the alarm clock and requisite snooze/dimmer button, I noticed a Daylight Saving Time (DST) button that can be set on or off on the back. Setting the clock time and alarm were both pretty easy. Other handy features include the Sleep indicator to set a time for the iPod to shut down automatically (in 15-minute increments).

Overall Design

The cabinet is made from anodized aluminum and looks sharp in the warm grey colour (I noticed that the unit also comes in purple). The overall shape and design is eye-catching. This is about the smallest unit I’ve seen that plugs in, charges an iPod, and gives time. I suppose a tiny remote would be a nice feature to see in future models. Other than that, I was very pleased with the iHome and would recommend it for places that lack the space for a larger stereo system, and travel.

I was sent the iHome iPod dock for the purpose of writing this review. Opinions, as always, are my own.

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