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Dock with iHome iH10 FM / AM Radio to the test.

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The dear old radio "kitchen" even before "living room" or that accompanied the home work in the 60s and 70s turns into a compact iPod dock that can be used at home, in the office and give access to a wide range of stations also internet in combination with Touch and iPhone and of course all your digital music.

There are many docks at medium-low prices also on the Italian market: some are the basic models of well-known and specialized brands, others are super-equipped of disparate origin that do not even have the "made for iPod" brand on the package but now have classic connector for the most popular digital player in the world In this review we are dedicated to a company that has distinguished itself since the first months of the iPod market with original models then copied from many other less imaginative oriental replicators: iHome, which came to the fore with one of the most sold clock radios with Dock.

iHome is confronted in this case with the development of a very basic theme: a monophonic speaker with FM receiver and Aux input, a sort of advanced and enhanced dock.

The packagingAlready picking up the black cardboard box that encloses the small box we can have an idea of ​​the "consistency" of the project: it is not the classic plastic box but a heavy wooden piece of furniture covered with a black scratch-resistant surface.

Inside the box we find the receiver, an external power supply, the AM antenna to be mounted on a special support and two dock adapters for the second generation iPod nano or iPod classic or with video.

On the front of iH 10 we find the large tuning knob, the input selector (Aux, FM, AM, as well as the iPod) and the volume potentiometer. On the back we have the switch that activates the EXB mode (EXtra Bass), the headphone output (stereo of course), the auxiliary input, the socket for the AM external antenna, the socket for the power connector, the cable for the FM antenna and finally the hole for the fitting that improves the reproduction of the Finally, on the upper side we have the dock where iPod or iPhone will be hosted: as seen in the basic equipment we also find two adapters for other models such as iPod nano. For iPhone 2G there are no insertion problems: if you want to use the 3G model you will have to completely remove the adapter.

User experienceLarge, comfortable and multi-folded handle with small writing but excellent maneuverability: here is the ergonomic approach with IH10. The good FM sensitivity accompanied by a knob that for its "hardness" keeps the station tuned make it very easy to find stations of good power and wandering on the FM range accompanied by the now forgotten white noise that digital research had made us forget. selector for the input section seems less precise and with light clicks while the volume potentiometer also works as a switch by illuminating a large LED on the front at the top right to signal the activity of the audio system. In general a return to “analogue” use ”Both for the nostalgics of the old radios and for those who want to try the experience from scratch without resorting to more expensive and noble systems.

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How does it sound?Don't expect the quality of a Tivoli radio: the price and the components used certainly do not allow frequency responses from noble systems: IH 10 does its duty as a monophonic player to accompany your work with your music from your iPod or your favorite radio station at home, in the kitchen or in a study. The EXB selector to enhance the bass, a sort of loudness we prefer to keep it always on because from a little more "body" to the reproduction.

The broadband speaker does its duty without reproducing metallic sounds as in many low price systems but we are far from the performance of the branded docks with 100 Euro speakers.

While with iPod there are no problems well to use the iPhone in "airplane" mode with the cell radio turned off given the considerable sensitivity to disturbances especially when listening to FM stations. Unlike much more expensive systems, this small receiver has no problem in recharging the latest generation Apple phone.

The iPod touch, which has no radio interference problems, is very comfortable and stable to use since the audio system takes it higher than the support surface and easy to access the player interface even for operations other than just listening tracks.

Pro: Robust and stable, good supply of sockets, good power in relation to the volume, also recharge iPhone 3G

Versus: Very sensitive to iPhone "cellular radio" disturbances (but obviously not certified for its use), medium quality sound. Difficult to use with low lighting.

Conclusions: if you are interested in a "kitchen dock" with power supply, certified, stable and versatile and if you want to mix the digital and touch controls of the new iPod with the dear old analog radio, iHome IH10 could be a nice and cheap system to add access on the FM radio to your iPod. If you are looking for medium to high sound quality, you should contact other, more expensive devices.

Retail price: 69 Euro including VAT.

The distribution of ADL's iHome products. IH10 can be purchased in APstore products.