Review: Zoom Technologies iHiFI

No more wires, no more leash on your iPod (October 16th, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: Zoom Technologies, Inc.

Price: $99.00 US approx. (Less online)

The Good

  • The signal can travel to 70 feet with few obstacles. Impressive sound with impressive speakers. The system takes up very little space. "Velcro disks keep the transmitter from rotating around the 3.5mm headset jack," on iPod 3G and 4G.

The Bad

  • Flashing lights may be confusing. The instructions are not written very well.

Useful and innovative iPod accessories will surely dominate this upcoming gift-giving season. If wires are getting on your nerves, take a look at the interesting iHIFI Receiver and Transmitter from Zoom Technologies. The transmitter plugs in to your iPod, MP3 player, or other audio device and sends your music to the receiver across the room wirelessly using Bluetooth technology. The receiver then sends the sound through powered stereo speakers, your home stereo, or other sound system. I tested the Combo Model 4373 for an iPod nano.

the Transmitter

There are different transmitters for the various iPod models. Model 4350 works with the iPod mini. Model 4354 fits the iPod 3G, 4G, and HP iPod. Model 4353 works with any iPod or any sound device with a stereo headphone jack. The transmitter is a small, lightweight, thin box that plugs into the headphone jack on your iPod. The 4350 and 4354 draw power from the iPod, while the 4353 has it is own rechargeable battery. Transmitters Model 4350 and 4354 fit like natural extensions on your iPod. It is much easier to buy the complete package with the receiver, so you do not have to mix and match equipment from different manufacturers.

the Receiver

The receiver is the shape and about the size of a hockey puck. A three-inch antenna sticks above the top of the receiver and an AC power block plugs into the back. There are also two RCA phono jacks and a stereo headphone jack in the back of the receiver. Depending on the connections you need, you should be able to plug the receiver right into the back of your sound system, because. A stereo headphone jack cable with two RCA phono plugs ships in the box.

The Fun

The transmitter and receiver talk back and forth and a series of flashing red and blue LEDs let you see the communication. If you can attach a VCR or DVD to your TV set, you should have no problems setting up the receiver. The instructions were a bit terse, so I had to contact a very helpful customer service person twice before I got sound through the receiver. My problem was understanding the instructions, not the equipment.

The iHIFI lets you walk around your home without the burden of dragging around wires. The iPod sends music, podcasts, or audio books to your sound system. You can select what you want to hear and control the volume coming from the stereo system. Just to make transport easier, you can pair the setup with a belt-clip enabled case that leaves the audio port accessible to plug in the transmitter.

Once engaged, the wireless set up was very convenient, but I found the sound only as impressive as the speakers used. Obviously, the better your speakers, the better your sound. The iHiFi has a 70-foot capable range, depending on wall thickness or other physical obstacles.

Troubleshooting Hint

If you need to troubleshoot your connection, plug a head set into the stereo headset jack in the receiver. If you hear the music from the iPod, the problem may be with the connection from the receiver to the sound system.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Rick Curran


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