Building on the success of its iA5, 2010’s inaugural app-enhanced alarm clock speaker system, iHome’s (http://www.ihomeaudio.com) iA63 is a slick, US$99 device that includes an FM Radio (with six presets) and a motorized rotating dock that provides a stand for watching videos in landscape mode.
First off, let me say that the motorized rotating dock to watch videos and picture slideshows in landscape mode isn’t a “must-have” feature. Plenty of products let you rotate the iPhone or iPod touch by hand. So a motorized rotator isn’t essential — but it is pretty cool.
Naturally, the iA63 offers the ability to play and charge a docked iPhone or iPod. With its alarm clock functionality, you can wake up to your own tunes or to FM radio. Another nice touch: the iD9 works with the free iHome+Sleep app for custom alarm settings, social alerts and more, and with the iHome+Radio app ($1.99) for global Internet radio.
The iA63 is a gorgeous system — black, sleek and very Apple-ish. It’s designed in such a way to take up as little space as possible on your desk or nightstand. The iHome device comes with an infrared remote, the only extra in the box besides the wall adapter.
One complaint: the iA63’s single integrated alarm is either always on or always off settings. You can add additional, more versatile, software-based alarms with the aforementioned iHome + Sleep, but they’ll only work when the iPhone or iPod touch is plugged into the iHome device and running the app. And changing the alarms in the dark is a bit tricky.
Also, note that there’s no AM radio tuner. That makes no difference to me, but you’ve been warned.
As for audio quality, the iA63 is more than adequate considering all its offers for 100 bucks. Volume is decent and the audio is reasonably sharp thanks to the 6W high-end drivers. The iA63 also has an EQ control and a Gradual Wake/Gradual Sleep feature (which my wife loves; personally, I don’t set my alarm until I HAVE to get up). It’s compatible with all docking iPhones/iPods without the need for inserts. Theres a 3.5 mm mini-jack input for connecting other portable audio devices.
With all the features it packs, the iA63 is a more-than-worthy successor to the iA5, and offers lots of bang for the buck.
Rating: 8 out of 10
— Dennis Sellers