iHome IBN 6 Speaker Review

on Monday, December 29, 2014

There’s a lot of Bluetooth envy going on when viewing iHome’s IBN 6 Bluetooth speaker; it seems to have taken all the attributes touted by other speakers and assimilated them like the Borg. This heavy, obviously sturdy and durable speaker does everything one could ask of an outdoor “portable” (too big for a pocket but a knapsack, sure). And it sounds good too. So we’re out and about, camping or hiking or taking a long walk and it’s time to stop and play some tunes. Here’s why this $119.99 BT speaker shines:

Large Size

Its large size means that the speakers — two front firing 1.25” full-range drivers — are big enough to be heard above the normal, and not-so-normal sounds found outside. And there’s room for added refinements due to the chassis’ size, like to improve on the bass response through the addition of a rear-firing 2.25” passive radiator. Plus those speakers are stereo and, again due to the size of the iHome, there’s enough room to separate them for a better sound field.
The large size also means a large battery — one that can last for up to 14 hours of playing (in the “Eco” mode). If the whole idea of being away from an AC outlet is to be taken in stride, having a speaker give up the ghost after 2-3 hours is a joke.

Expects to Be Outdoors

The iHome expects to be used outdoors, so the weather-resistance is taken to the top: IPX7 thanks to a rubberized housing. The speaker construction also means being manhandled, dropped on dirt, etc.,  isn’t going to have it running home crying to its manufacturer either.

Added Tech

The iHome was made with some conveniences in mind: for example, NFC lets one-touch pairing work between the speaker and the Bluetooth-enabled phone or tablet (or sync with BT the old-fashioned way). Plus a a USB port for charging other devices (that large battery means siphoning off juice won’t leave the speakers dead).
And since a smartphone is there, the speaker might as well have a speakerphone built in for using Bluetooth for taking/making calls. So it does.
All of the above seems to say that this is the BT speaker you want to have when the call of the wild starts up, even you’re not going any farther than the backyard.

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