Review Round Up: iPod Docks Page 5


Key Features
• Speakers: two 3[1/2]-in coaxial full-range drivers
• Amplifier: 2 x 25 watts 
• Connections: minijack audio input, component- and composite-video outputs
• Dimensions:14 [3/4] x 5 [3/4] x 6 [1/4] in
• Weight: 6 [1/2] lbs

iHome iP3 Studio Series
When it comes to iPod docks, iHome doesn't kid around. It offers a plethora of models, at all price points. The iP3 is one of the company's premium Studio Series offerings, a notch down from the excellent iP1 that I tested for a similar dock roundup in 2009. It offers what I would call "contemporary" styling, with a nice mix of smoked transparent acrylic fascia and black grille cloth.

The iP3's dock is front and center on its grille and flanked by four lighted buttons. One of these turns on a Bongiovi Acoustics algorithm meant to add missing harmonics and improve clarity, presence and bass resonance. Bass and treble are adjustable from the remote control. Speaking of which, the remote is quite handsome and has a welcome bit of heft to it. More practically, it lets you access and control iPod menus. On the rear of the unit you'll find two bass ports as well as basic I/O. Don't stuff the iP3 too close to a wall or you might muffle its bass response.

Sound quality was quite good. Thanks to the rear ports, the iP3's small speakers and cabinet can crank out a good amount of bass. Moreover, its middle and upper frequencies were very natural sounding. Male vocals sounded warm without any hint of nasality or other artifacts, and female vocals were clean without being shrill. Similarly, instruments came across as full and rich. I would have liked more high-frequency presence, but the iP3's warmth was far better than the tinny sound put out by some small systems. I was also impressed by its relative power - this dock can play plenty loud. The Bongiovi Acoustics algorithm successfully punches up the dynamics and, more obviously, increases the volume. Most listeners will be likely to always keep it on. When it comes to home docks, iHome has its act together. The iP3 is yet another example of the company's expertise in this category. Its styling is tidy, its operation simple, and its sound several notches above the usual desktop dock system. Throw in the better-than-average remote, and what's not to like?