By Danny Winget
We love our iPhones. We love our iPads. These devices have made it possible to have our favorite music just a tap away in the palm of our hands. So what happens when the built-in speaker of your device is not powerful enough to broadcast music in a room when you want others to hear your favorite song at the moment?
What about when you are sharing your favorite YouTube video with a friend and the sound is just not loud enough? You start to think, "I need to buy an external speaker to overcome these awkward moments." Then you realize you have gotten your self into even a bigger problem: there are about a million external speakers out there for your device!
You go to your local store or browse your favorite online merchant and decide you don’t want one of those huge dock stands with speakers built in. You want something you can carry around that doesn’t take up much space with the versatility of bluetooth wireless connectivity. If these requirements are running through your mind then I think iHome has the solution for you. The iHome IDM11 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker may meet all your requirements and more.
The iHome IDM11 takes a totally different design element than its little brother, the iHome IDM8 wireless speaker, in that the device takes a square form factor over the circular design of the IDM8. If you are familiar with a Boxee Box media box made by D-Link then you will see a striking resemblance. The construction is solid except for a few minor creaks when handling the device, but it feels solid in the hand.
The speaker plants itself firmly on a level surface during operation and does not move during playback. The IDM11 features a mini-USB port for charging the built-in battery, volume up and down buttons, an on/off button, a play/pause/pair button, and a aux/bluetooth/lock toggle switch. The base of the stand also features a glowing blue light when it's turned on and a red glowing light when it is charging. There is also a microphone on the right side of the IDM11 that allows you to take calls by way of bluetooth if you have the speaker paired to a mobile phone. This speaker is feature packed.
Overall operation/performance and connectivity
The IDM11 paired with every device I had in the house with ease. I paired this speaker up with the new iPad, the iPhone 4S, a Sony Xperia S, and a HTC One X without any problems. The first pairing can take up to three minutes so don’t be afraid if it doesn’t connect right away. After the first pairing the connection was much faster the second time around.
If you don’t have a Bluetooth-enabled device the IDM11 also includes a cable with a USB/AUX cord so you can connect the audio to any device with a 3.5mm headphone jack. I noticed the Bluetooth connection was louder in playback but the AUX connection played just fine.
The speaker performance is not going to blow you away but sounds great for a speaker of its size. The bass is soft but the overall sound is relatively loud. When listening to bass heavy music, such as hip-hop, I noticed the speaker would distort so I had to turn it down a notch. The speaker is strong enough to fill a room and most people would be surprised at the output of this little device. Even though there are volume buttons at the bottom of the device, I suggest setting the volume to the loudest setting and controlling the volume from your device.
The iHome IDM11 is a versatile product. It has many practical uses. We don’t always need to have a huge dock with full robust sound. This speaker is perfect for office settings where loud music would interfere with productivity. I was able to play music on this device paired to my iPhone for a full day of office work and the battery was still going strong.
This device is great for kitchens, small rooms or any other place you may need a boost in sound. This speaker is great for watching a movie on the iPad or to have a more immersive sound experience when playing a graphically intensive game like Infiniti Blade II.
It's a neat compact device but there is one caveat: the price. This speaker retails for $69.99. There are other speakers that offer similar compact sound offerings that are $20 to $30 less, such as the Satechi BT portable wireless speaker. If you can find this item on sale or don’t mind its steep price then I would totally recommend buying it. The decent build quality, the vast connectivity, long lasting battery, and surprising sound quality would make this a good buy. Visit https://www.ihomeaudio.com/iDM11B/ for further details and ordering information.