When any Android user hear’s a name the has the infamous lower case ‘i’ in it, we automatically think about iOS supported products. In this case you would be right and wrong at the same time. iHome was originally a manufacturer for iOS products. Ranging from docks, speakers, clock radios, docks and more. Recently they have expanded their line up to include support for Android devices. Of course they aren’t going to rename their company to aHome or gHome. iHome has a great reputation for making outstanding products and we are pleased to have them part of the Android community.
We were able to get our hands on one of the three latest Android products, called the iC50. It is a clock/radio dock with a lot more to it than one might think. The Android integrated aspect of the unit is pretty small, but functional. To get an idea of what this little guy can do for you we should go over all of the capabilities.
First and foremost this is a digital clock. The front screen is large and uses a blueish white coloring for the numbers. On the top is where you will find the controls for the clock. It is a soft rubber with white labels. The first row has two buttons, one for the snooze and another for dimming the clock. The dim function has fours brightness levels, high, medium, low and extra low. That is about the best way to describe it. Nothing is more annoying than having a bedside clock that is super bright at night while you are sleeping. Having the various brightness levels at the touch of a button is extremely nice. The clock will also display in a 12 hour format or 24 hour format.
The radio function of the iC50 is pretty unique. Not because it lets you set 30 presets or anything like that, because it doesn’t. It does however have the ability to change country’s. Various country’s use different FM radio frequencies. You can change how the FM radio works so that you don’t have any issues in Japan, Australia, China or Europe. We thought that was pretty interesting addition that helps make this a world traveler.
Now on to how the iC-50 works for your Android device. On the top of the unit there is a small stand that sits behind the rows of buttons. This is where your Android phone will sit. This part pops off for a few different reasons. First, under the panel is a USB plug and a switch to turn the power supply to the USB port on and off. Second is a 3.5mm headphone input jack. iHome provides a headphone to headphone cable and a custom-made USB cable. The USB cable is obviously so you can charge your device. Since Android doesn’t push sound through the USB port, they had to add the headphone plug. The USB cable feeds through the top panel and is designed to slide to the far left and right. This helps to orientated your device based on where your charging port is. The headphone adaptor feed through a small cut out behind the panel so you can plug it into your device as well.
Along with the hardware side of things, there is also an application for your device that works with the iHome product. Oddly enough, it is called iHome Sleep. Not hard to find. The application has quite a few functions that an Android user might want to have even without the iC50 at hand. It is a full featured alarm clock app plus more. You can set it to wake you up with your favorite music, or play calming sounds at bed time to help you fall asleep. You can wake up and have your Facebook and Twitter feeds ready to read. The app also shows the current weather on the main screen as well. The app also features a simple to use sleep tracker. slide the tab bedtime when you are going to sleep and then slide it to wake up when you get up. The app will track your sleep habits for you and help you identify your terrible sleeping habits.
What we like about the iC50
The incorporation of a compatible app that is both useful and functional is a nice touch. It makes the iHome iC50 more than just a charging/music playing dock for our devices. The sound from the speakers is clear, clean and great to listen to when getting ready in the morning or to watch a movie while headed to bed. No surprise that set up only takes a few minutes and has no complicated aspects to it. Every button is clearly labeled with no complicated button sequences to remember. The clock brightness dimmer, adjustable snooze times and daylight savings time button makes it very nice to use. The design and look of the iHome iC50 is extremely elegant. It might look large and bulky but it is only 5 x 5 x 4.5 inches and weighs in at 1.2 pounds. Its colors and accents make it look nice and compliment any room in your house.
What we don’t like about the iC50
We know iHome makes great products for iOS device. When it comes to Android though, trying to make a universal product is a bit tricky at times. Depending on where your headphone jack is and your charging port, you may run into issues. For me, my charging port is on the top of my device, so I can only lay my phone on its side and pull the USB cable through the hole. I have found that using my own cable that is much longer and running it through the cut out on the rear is more convenient for use. Same issue can arise with the headphone cord. It is just long enough to connect to your device if it is laying on its side. If you prefer vertical placement, your are probably out of luck unless you have a longer cable at your disposal. The speakers sound great but lack some punch. Granted I am not having a party in my room, but I also don’t have a home theater system in my bedroom either. Sometimes you just want to rock out and have it sound great. The iC50 only works if it is plugged in. It is sort of one of those things you plug-in and leave forever. There is a CR2450 battery in the product for time and settings memory. The battery also ensures that your alarm will sound in case of a power outage while you are sleeping. Also if you pack up the iC50 for a trip or just to move it to another room, you won’t have to worry about resetting your clock and alarms again.
What they could change on the iC50
In future products we think they could have some better luck making the unit bluetooth compatible. That would kill the need for the headphone plug and cord plus give the added ability to change tracks on your device without having to touch your phone to do so. It would be easy enough to do and with your device charging at the same time you wouldn’t be losing power while connected. We also would mind seeing it have all the function of a speaker phone. This would be easily achieved with bluetooth. We understand that some of these ideas would increase the cost a little, but we think they would serve a greater function.
Even if you only use it to charge your device while you are sleeping. The additional features and functions are great have available if you ever need them. Personally I use it as my bedside clock, alarm and charger. I have laid in bed and watched a movie or two using it for sound and a place to set my phone for hands free watching. When we think about the pros and cons versus the price of the device, it is easily worth your money. We feel there is still room for improvement to really make it great. As it sits right now, it serves its purpose well. The iHome iC50 is currently available for only $49.99. I bet you expected it to be closer to $90 didn’t you. Some times these company’s even surprise us with prices. The price tag is what makes this an even more attractive accessory to have in your home. If the iHome iC50 meets your price range and your needs, hit the link below to get your order placed. Be sure to also visit their website at iHomeAudio for further information about this product and many other products that they offer.