As a person who regularly reviews Mac and iOS products, it's hard to find something truly different. However, iHome has managed this with the iDM5 Executive Work Station for smartphones and tablets such as the iPhone and iPad.
The Executive Work Station is a combination Bluetooth keyboard, speaker system and USB charging port. This is a combo that I haven't seen before, and the iDM5 performs all its tasks well.
The Executive Work Station works with the iPhone, but it's better suited to the iPad. Some products are designed to make Apple's tablet a laptop replacement; the iHome solution makes it a semi-desktop solution.
Pair your iPad with the Bluetooth-enabled Executive Work Station (pairing is easy) and you can comfortably type -- the full size QWERTY keyboard offers good tactile feedback -- while simultaneously streaming your favorite music connection. You can also play music through the universal 3.5mm aux line-in jack.
The Executive work Station sports a built-in mic, so you can also use it as a speakerphone or for video conferencing. Plus, it sports two USB ports, allowing you to charge two devices at the same time.
The Executive Work Station isn't meant for on-the-road use. It measures 14.5 x 2.3 x 7.4 inches, weighs 3.3 pounds and needs an electrical outlet. However, if you're on a business trip, can make do with an iPad instead of a laptop, the iHome solution is worth carrying with you.
You can type up reports, make calls, and more. You can also use the Executive Work Station for better sound than with the iPad's own speakers. Though the iDM5 speakers won't be confused with Bose products, they provide surprisingly good sound for music, movies, games or apps.
The Executive Work Station isn't for everyone. For instance, if you never use your iPad (or iPhone) to type text, this isn't for you. But if you use your iOS device as a semi-computer replacement, there's nothing else like the iHome solution out there.
The iDM5 is available for US$129.99 at retailers nationwide and at http://www.ihomeaudio.com. For more details go to https://www.ihomeaudio.com/iDM5B/ .
Rating: 9 out of 10
-- Dennis Sellers