Digital Crave

Speakers for the rest of us

Digital Crave

iHome iW2

iHome iW2

Sometimes new technology fixes one problem and creates a new one. For instance: Before we all had our music libraries conveniently stored in our smart phones or MP3 players, we had CDs and cassettes and records. That meant we had stereos or "boom boxes" in our home and we lived within those means — one room in our home typically held all our music paraphernalia and we were content to enjoy our music there.

Now we can take our music anywhere, which means we can play it anywhere.
But how?

I remember a time when I would move a set of clumsy, wired computer speakers to every room in the house whenever I wanted to play music. They were tinny and cumbersome. Not an ideal solution.

Then I allowed myself the luxury of a docking station with a built in speaker that I could also move from room to room. Not bad, but not ideal. Some of these are fantastic — most are not. The quality was mediocre and the idea of unplugging a device, moving it to another room, and then plugging that device back in seemed like a step backward. There was also the hassle of dislodging the phone to check it every time it rang or I got a text only to have to put it back to listen to music again.

Enter the iHome iW2. Here's an elegant looking speaker that will blow you out of the room with quality sound - if that's what you want — that features flawless wireless technology. It takes about two minutes to set it up and download the free app that allows you to stream music from iTunes, iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch via WiFi. You can also use the USB port if you want to charge those devices while they play.

I like new tech so I was pretty impressed with this thing right out of the box. My wife, on the other hand, is a bit of a hippie. She is not easily impressed by new technology — unless it's the heated seats in her Subaru. The minute she realized she could play music all over the house without ever touching a wire again she was hooked.

View photo

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Brooke Burke with iP4 Speaker

Brooke Burke with iP4 Speaker

Now that I had a smart, adult solution to our home audio problems I figured it was time to look for something on the opposite end of the spectrum. I wanted a cool speaker system I could use in our backyard for parties or take with us when we went for BBQs in the park. That's when I found the iP4, also from iHomeAudio.com. This re-imagining of the classic boom box works with your iPhone or iPod, comes with an auxiliary line-in jack and also has an FM radio (which, given the flimsy detachable antenna, seems like an afterthought). The rubberized exterior is Spartan but evokes the heyday of the mighty boom box with a 5 band EQ coupled with 4" carbon composite woofers and 1" ferro fluid cooled tweeters. If robots were going to breakdance, they'd use this thing.

While there are thousands of speaker options out there, I found this cool boom box to be a reasonably-priced piece of tech that I felt comfortable knocking around from one party to the next.

Both items are available now at retail outlets nationwide and on iHomeAudio.com for $199.99.

Note: This was written by Victor Paul Alvarez, a Digital Crave contributor.
Check out more tech trends and new at Digital Crave

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