8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
The iHome iA5 is basically an alarm clock that hooks up with your iPod, iPod Touch or iPhone. What it isn't, first of all, is a radio alarm clock --- if you don't have an iPod or iPhone connected to it, the only alarm option is a buzzer, so if you're looking for an iPod/radio alarm clock, this isn't it. However, if you connect an iPod or iPhone, it will let you fall asleep to, and wake up to, whatever track your device is set to. I find this a wonderful function, and don't particularly miss the radio, so in that sense it's a good device.
However, the iA5 has a couple of glaring design mistakes. First of all, the iPod/iPhone connector is a little rectangular block sticking out from the front of the device. As a result, your iPod/iPhone will block the buttons on the device - most notably the snooze button. So, when you're waking up and maybe still a bit clumsy, you need to maneuver around the iPod/iPhone to press it. That's annoying. Secondly, the connector for the iPod/iPhone isn't too sturdy. Mine actually moves a bit, and when at first I thought this was a defect, so I went to check others in the store and yep, they all move. It doesn't feel sturdy at all, as if it could break off if you accidentally bump it or press your iPod down too hard. Thirdly, there are 4 buttons at the back of the device (to set the time etc.) that are just plain impossible to read unless you lift the device up, because those buttons' text is pointed downward. It's tremendously annoying. E.g. one of those buttons actually syncs your alarm clock with your iPod/iPhone - a great idea - but it's impossible to see which of the 4 buttons does that without lifting the entire thing. So, those are 3 tremendously annoying design flaws that knocked 2 stars off this device's rating for me.
Otherwise, there's not much to complain about. The clock numbers "shine" from the speaker, which looks very neat, and you can choose 3 levels of brightness for the clock (great if you have sensitive eyes). The sound quality is decent - don't expect Bose quality, but for an alarm clock it's definitely acceptable with solid bass and treble levels.
Finally, there's the "app-enhanced" part of the device, which I wasn't able to test as I only have a "classic" iPod that doesn't do apps like the iTouch and iPhone do. As I understand it, it allows you to connect to Facebook (which, of course, you could do without the alarm clock too) and tracks sleep stats (which could be interesting, I guess, but wouldn't be a reason to buy the device for me).
So in the end, you have a decent iPod/iPhone alarm clock with a striking look but a few very annoying design flaws. I would definitely recommend heading to a physical store to check it out before ordering it, because there are many other options for this type of device, and this one frankly has some flaws that may be deal-breakers for you. Still, the price is definitely right, so if you're willing to overlook a couple of clumsily placed buttons, this could be the one for you.
UPDATE: 8/28/2010 I ended up taking this product back to the store, because it stopped charging my iPod. I think the little block that holds the iPod probably got loose. I've exchanged this iHome for the iHome ip92, which has the same functionality but none of the design flaws - the buttons aren't blocked by the iPod, and the iPod docks at the top of the device rather than at the front. The sound quality is also MUCH better. Finally, it includes an AM/FM radio. So, if you're considering the iHome iA5, I would strongly recommend checking out the ip92 instead.