iHome iW2 iPhone iPad Wifi Airplay Speaker Review
Price & Model
Alarm Clock Features
The simple, sleek iW2 by iHome takes advantage of new apple technology that works with Wifi called Aireplay. Airplay lets you control devices using the wifi connection. This allows for wireless connectivity, control and convenience. The iW2 works by setting up your iPhone, iPod or iPad with the iHome apps and using them to control the device.
iHome iD50 Highlights:
- Wireless control
- Simple compact design
- Excellent sound
- Reson8 speaker technology
- iPad, iPod, and iPhone app enhanced
The iW2 is perfect for taking advantage of your iPhone’s wireless capabilities. It works by connecting to wifi which allows it to be controlled. Once it’s set up you can play music from anywhere your iPhone is connected to the wifi. This makes it a great speaker to keep in your livingroom, bedroom and office.
iHome developed apps that give you great control with the iW2. You can use the iHome Set app to control features and update the firmware. With iHome Connect app you can set up the network on which you will use the iW2.
- Wireless control and playback
- Premium sound
- Sleek universal design
What’s in the Box?
- Speaker system
- Remote control
- Power adapter
WiFi wireless speaker system with great sound
The iW2 is a speaker system that uses WiFi to play music from Airplay devices. We found that it does a good job of letting the user control music and volume without being attached with a wire. Setting it up on our network took some patience, but overall the experience is worth while. We found it most helpful for those who use lots of Apple products with Airplay.
We were impressed by the sound. Since a lot of the functionality happens on the Apps, there is more room internally for bigger speakers. We only had it up around ⅓ of it’s volume and thought it was plenty loud. This speaker can get loud, and it sounds great. In the iHome Set app you can set bass and treble so this provides a way to cut down on distortion should you have any.
The build is fantastic. The shape, layout of buttons and compact construction make it easy to work with and handle. It is thick enough to fit in the speakers that it uses to crank out sound, but it’s thin enough to pick up with one hand easily. Using the buttons on top is easy. Lights indicate their function and if they are being used. There are 8 total buttons: power, WiFi connect, iPod dock, volume up, volume down, song back, play, song forward. The iW2 feels solid to the touch and has a slick mesh guard around the sides that protects the speakers from dirt and dust.
One thing that is noticeable with this speaker over other models is the lack of a display. The only on-body indicators are the lights that are on top of the iW2. If you use the iHome Set app you can set up many other features which we cover in the App section. Otherwise, when you are in the iPhone (or other Apple device) you can select the iW2 from the list of audio devices and control volume and song skipping from the device.
On the back:
Connections to the power supply, an Ethernet cable and an auxiliary input are all on the back. There is a button for network setup, a network status indicator light, and a firmware update indicator.
Setting up with a network was not as easy as using Bluetooth to play wirelessly. We found that it can take a few tries to get the network to connect. This could happen, generally, because of a strange security setting, out dated router, etc... Our problem occurred because the iHome Connect app was not able connect to our WiFi. We got it to work by downloading the iHome Set app and configuring the WiFi through that. Hopefully this does not happen to a majority of users, but it is possible.
We would sum up the iW2 using Airplay as a great option. WiFi allows multiple devices to connect to it without pairing like Bluetooth. However, you can get some lag when trying to control songs and volume.
We like that you can be working on the computer and use iTunes to control the iW2 then walk in the other room and control the music from your iPhone, iPod or iPad. As long as you are connected to the network it will work.
Bluetooth not included? That is what we first asked when we got it. We thought surely it would have a Bluetooth option. The truth is that device is designed for home and office use. even with all of the flexibility of using Airplay, the iW2 is still anchored to the network. Bluetooth is in speaker systems gives them the ability to be portable. That is usually how it is used. The iW2 is not meant to be taken that far from home.
Airplay on a Mac it works through iTunes only. It is not seen as an external audio device like a Bluetooth speaker might be. This limits audio to only iTunes. No internet radio or other audio player usage (yet).
We installed 'iHome Connect' and had trouble with setup. We ended up using the 'iHome Set' app to set up the WiFi. You may or may not have the same problem. We could have been doing something wrong. The bottom line is, WiFi connectivity opens the doors for errors like this. iHome provides several setup apps to help get it up and running. To us it was worth figuring out, and if you really want an Airplay speaker it will be worth the extra few minutes should you have any issues. Once we got ours set up we have not had any issues.
The 'iHome Set' app is a good companion to the iW2 use it to turn off or on the iW2, Select mode (iPod or Airplay), volume, EQ (treble, bass and SRS off/on), set up network, name the speaker, and perform a firmware update. We leave ours on all the time.
We like the simplicity of the iW2’s functionality in the apps. It is essentially what buttons are on the device.
For $199 you get a speaker that plays music wirelessly over a network. Other speakers are not going to give you the same options for less than this price. It comes everything you need to put it to work for you with minimal effort. You can search Amazon to see if they have a better deal.
We feel like the iW2 is one of the speakers that has to exist. Something that plays wirelessly from anywhere in the house on a network just makes sense. It’s our feeling that it could be a little more versatile.
Like mentioned earlier, we wondered why it did not come with Bluetooth. But, we realize now that it is designed to be apart of a network, not to be seen as an all-in-one or portable speaker.
We found that the iW2 strengths are in it’s simplicity. It will never run out of batteries, you never have to set a clock, you rarely have to switch modes, and everything is accessible through apps on the iPhone. Once it is set up, maintenance can be performed from the apps.
All-in-all, we see this speaker being great for home and office use.
Pros and Cons
Sleek compact design
Easy to control music
Accessible app settings
iHome Set app works but iHome Connect is flaky
Not as many features as other iHome speakers