The iHome stereo system is pretty good. It looks pretty and has some "wow" factor. I like it.
Lets go over the main features:
Charging: Charges very nice. Support for all the various i devices is provided by sticking different plastic plates in the dock. Its really important to use this white little plates because they keep you from putting too much strain on the 15 pin connector. Disappointingly, they did not include a white plate that is compatible with the iPhone 2G. Perhaps they are not aware that many adults pass down their old 2G iPhones to their kids for use as iPod Touch... I have done that and I know several other people who have done it as well. However, this isn't a big deal, its not advertised as including this plate, but rest assured that if your child is using an iPhone 2G as an iPod touch then they will not be able to use the charging feature of this device.
Speakers: The speakers performed well for what they are. In fact, I was modestly impressed. It has a port so you can plug in an external mp3 player and get the flashing lights and speakers, so if you have an iPhone 2g, well, thats how you would use it. They make a big deal about the Passive Subwoofer. I did some research on the internet to find out just what a "passive" subwoofer is. The iHome manufacturer website had nothing to say about this, in fact, the "tech specs" page only had the product dimensions (weak). The manual also had no specs (weak). The amazon "technical details" has no specs (weak). So really, we don't know what this passive subwoofer is, or the specs of this subwoofer. Maybe its just an "idea" and all you are really getting is a "subwoofery experience" (boo!).
The lights: The lights are nice. I like the fade mode where it cycles through the colors. They blink appropriately when you have a really strong back beat on a song and not much else. It works perfectly. But as soon as anything that is not a very clear beat or melody enters the music the iHome has something closer to an apoplectic fit. It starts blinking and stuttering and flashing with no real relation to the music. I'm sure its little firmware is trying to do something marvelous, but its not as cool as a disco ball. The lights do work without music, it can sit there and color shift all day without your i device plugged in. The lights were a little jerky to adjust, there are 5 settings, and sometimes its hard to know which setting you are on, or how long to hold the button. But my kids don't mind this. They like to fiddle with it. An adult will dislike the vagueness of the controls.
The box tells you to check out the iPhone app... That the item is "app enhanced". which seems to imply that the iPhone app will somehow help you get more out of your little disco light show. Well, not really. They do have a free iPhone alarm clock app, I downloaded it and tried it and the two are mutually exclusive items. It is true that its nice to have the alarm clock app but I couldn't see how the iHome app worked with the iP15 in any way. I think you should download the free app if you get this device, just don't expect the app+iP15 to do more than they do separately. The app is a nice touch, maybe I'm missing something...
One minor detail... I think that the iP15 is kinda ugly when its not glowing some color. Its a dingy blue-grey when turned off. It doesn't look as white as the Amazon picture shown on this page.
Overall I would say this would be a great gift for a girl. My daughters were very excited when it arrived. I doubt it would disappoint a teen.
Its really hard to say whether to give it 3 stars (its ok) or 4 stars (i like it). I'm going to settle in on 4 stars, as the kids who are the target market felt it was great. And isn't it their opinion that matters the most?