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iHome iP88 Dual Dock Clock

October 31st, 2009
iHome has an alarm clock for 2 of you.

The small iHome iP88 music and clock system sports dual docks for your iPod and iPhone. If there are two iPhone or iPod users sleeping in your bed, with two different wake times, and different taste in music, then iHome has an alarm clock for you! iHome has added another clock radio and stereo iPod/iPhone dock to its family. The iHome iP88 Dual Dock Clock Radio and Audio System for iPhone & iPod is similar to the single iPod dock, named the iHome iP9, but the iP88 includes two docks, so they’ve made a standout product even better. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to use the term iP88 to refer to this new product with a very long name and although I may refer only to the iPhone, the iP88 works with iPhones and iPods.

The small iHome iP88 music and clock system sports dual docks for your iPod, iPod Touch, or iPhone. It has 3 separate alarm clocks that trigger an alarm sound, the radio, or a playlist from either of two iPhones, in a package small enough to fit on most nightstand or dressers.

What’s in the Box

The iP88 package includes a remote control, AM antenna loop assembly with stand, power supply, and six dock adapters for all the various models of iPods and iPhones.

iP88 Box Contents

The sleek and simple design of the iP88 includes a molded silver plastic rectangle about the size of a box of tissues. A nice, large white LED display on the front is flanked on each side by the 3” full range speakers covered with silver mesh grills. The bright display is easy to read from across the room. It’s so bright that the designers thoughtfully included an 8-step dimmer, so light sleepers (no pun intended) can lower the intensity if they want. It shows the time, AM or PM, the type of alarm activated, and which alarm is set to go off first and when. I like the design of the iP88, but not as much as the look of the iHome iP9, Clock Radio & Audio System for iPhone & iPod. It’s a shame they didn’t carry over some of those design elements.

Controls on the Top

While the front of the iP88 includes the nice, large LED display, the top of the unit is where you’ll find the action. It has two docks on either side along with a recessed click wheel-looking control for Volume on the left and Settings on the right, plus a Play/Pause button in the center of each button. I like the design nod to the iconic iPod Click Wheel, but the mechanism feels flimsy and cheap when you spin it. It’s slick on the top and doesn’t always spin, so your finger may slip a bit. I wonder how it will feel after a few months worth of dust accumulates in the tiny crevice between the wheels and the housing. I think the product needs a textured surface on the wheels and a better mechanism underneath; this would make the feature a standout that nicely ties it to the iPod design. In between the docks and the click wheels sit the rest of the controls; snooze, dimmer, alarm reset, radio, line-in selector, sleep, equalizer, Alarm 1, 2, and 3, and 8 radio presets.

Top of iP88

Radio playback controls are just as you’d expect, you select the AM or FM band and use the right click wheel to go up or down the frequencies. Press and hold any of the 8 presets to program a station.

The 3 easy to set alarms allow you to set up to three separate alarms to different alarm times, source (dock 1, dock 2, line-in, radio, or buzzer), and frequency (daily, weekdays, or weekends).

Controls on the Back

The back of the unit is where you’ll find the controls for things that you probably will only need to access once. These include the Daylight Savings Time switch, clock adjust button, time sync button, time zone button, the AM antenna connector, a 1/8” Line-in jack to connect other audio devices, such as an MP3 player or CD player, e and the built-in FM antenna.

iP88 Controls

The back panel also has a port on each end, directly behind the speaker. These are to help the small speakers sound larger than they really are by porting the bass, which makes the speaker much more efficient. It’s an old trick, but one that works, and it works very well on the iP88. These 3” full range Reson8 speaker chambers, driven by a modest amplifier, sound pretty darn good. I played a variety of tracks, even turned the volume to maximum and was consistently rewarded with a nice, even performance. This is no replacement for your stereo system, but it’s definitely better audio than you’re likely to find in most similarly priced bedside systems. The bottom panel has an access door to the alarm backup battery, so you won’t miss your wake-up call even if there’s a power outage in the night.

iPhone playback is straightforward; if your iPhone is playing, just place it into the dock and after a few seconds, the iP88 detects it and ports the audio through its speakers. At this point you can control the iPhone through the iP88’s controls or the remote control. Your iPhone’s LCD also displays the current album art.

iP88 with Two Docked iPhones

The Remote

The clearly labeled remote control fits nicely in your hand. The buttons, however, could use a little more feedback. Sometimes you’re not sure if you’ve pressed the button fully until the iP88 responds to your command. I prefer a little more travel on a remote’s buttons, like you’d find on most TV or DVD player remotes.

iP88 Remote

There are only a few minor issues keeping me from giving the iP88 5 stars. The sketchy feel of the click wheels and the boxy look of the design bug me, but this is still a nice product. If you need more than one dock on your bedroom audio system or multiple alarms the iHome iP88 is a solid choice.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor
Good sound. Large LED display.
iPod detection works well.
Battery backup.
Three alarms.
Charges iPod when docked. Cons
Volume/Select click wheel feels cheap.
Remote buttons need more feedback.