Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: iHome IM60LT 3.5mm Aux Portable Speaker (Blue Translucent)
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Color: Blue Translucent|Package Type: Standard Packaging|Change
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on July 3, 2010
(PLEASE NOTE: This Video Review was made using a Canon SD800 IS camera and was recorded in avi format. It was then converted to mpegII for upload. I recommend that you use a good set of earphones to listen to the speaker comparison portion of the review. )

Even though the internal speakers on my Sony Vaio notebook computer are decent, I sometimes need a little more volume and clarity. When the need arises, I usually whip out the ear-buds. But recently, I've been wanting to play some tunes on my computer at work where it's not convenient to wear ear-buds. Hence, the "need" for one of these portable mini-speakers.

After reading the reviews on portable notebook/iPod/iPhone speakers, I narrowed my choice down to 3 products and ordered all 3.
I thought that I would choose the best one, send the others back, and review them at the same time. So....my 3 choices were the X-Mini II Capsule Speaker, the iHOME Rechargeable Mini Speakers for iPod (Blue), and the Altec Lansing iM-237 Orbit Ultraportable Speaker for MP3 Players (Silver),

I tested all 3 speakers with my Sony Vaio notebook, my iPhone 3Gs, and my 60-gig iPod. All 3 speakers worked with all 3 devices, and the rating results were comparable.

One more thing: although 2 of the 3 speakers have USB charging cables, none of them are USB devices. The USB only charges the speaker; the sound is controlled via the headphone-out controls.

1) X-Mini II Capsule Speaker ---- This speaker is the most compact. I like the design, the lines, the feel, and the size. It just feels right. It looks like a little pill/capsule, and then springs open to reveal bellows that enhance the bass. The sound is focused and clear, but ranks #3 in loudness and bass quality. It is the only speaker of the 3 that I tested that has a volume control, but I really don't see the need for a volume control when the speaker is only 6 inches away from the sound source. It has a built-in speaker cord for when you want to run it on the internal rechargeable battery. There's also a combined USB charging/speaker cable....1 plug inserts into your computer USB port to charge the speaker battery, and the 2nd plug goes to the headphone-out on your computer (or iPod). So, if your speaker battery dies, just plug the 2 plugs into the computer and you're back up and running. If you're using the speaker to listen to your iPod or iPhone, you are out of luck if the speaker battery dies, unless you have a USB power source nearby. Unfortunately, both the attached speaker cable and the combined USB charging/speaker cable are very flimsy. It also has a speaker-out jack, which allows you to daisy-chain speakers together. Not really a huge selling point, since people tend to buy these speakers because they are small and compact...so who wants to carry 2 with them? But I suppose it does allow for more flexibiity, athough daisy-chaining 2-3 of these little guys together just doesn't make good financial sense. So, just like the volume control, the speaker-out jack is a non-issue to me. Also comes with a little carrying bag made of felt material.

Pros --- Looks and feels right. Small/compact. Decent sound, considering it's size. Rechargeable battery. Option of using built-in cable or combined USB charging/speaker cable.
Cons --- Worst performance in terms of loudness and bass (but still not bad). Flimsy cables.

2) iHOME Rechargeable Mini Speakers for iPod (Blue) ---- This speaker is very similar to the X-Mini II above. The major differences: it's larger than the X-Mini and doesn't look as "polished". It doesn't have a volume control, but who needs one anyway? It doesn't have a built-in cable....it only has a USB charging/speaker cable....but it's MUCH sturdier than the cable on the X-Mini. The sound is louder and fuller, with more pronounced bass.....probably because the diameter is bigger and the bellows are longer. Comes with a medium-heavy duty black carrying bag, which is more substantial than the felt used for the X-Mini II bag. Also has a speaker-out jack, just like the X-Mini II, for daisy-chaining speakers together.

Pros --- Ranks #2 in loudness and bass. Small/compact. Rechargeable battery. Sturdy cable. Nicer carrying bag. $10 cheaper than the X-Mini.
Cons --- Less "polished" look/feel. Not as small as the X-Mini. No built-in speaker cable, so you MUST use the more bulky USB charging/speaker cable.

3) Altec Lansing iM-237 Orbit Ultraportable Speaker for MP3 Players (Silver) --- This speaker is the largest, but weighs about the same as the IHome. It has NO USB charging cable....just a built-in speaker cable. It ONLY runs on 3 AAA batteries. I haven't used it long enough to test the battery life. The carrying case is a deluxe zippered case that really protects the speaker. It also includes a lanyard for the speaker and a little caribiner clip for the case. The sound clearly out-classes the other 2 in loudness, clarity, and bass.

Pros --- Best sound of the 3. Uses 3 AAA batteries (no rechargeable battery to die on you). Built-in speaker cable. Very nice carrying case.
Cons --- Largest of the 3. Uses 3 AAA batteries (rechargeable battery is convenient, but they often die.) Flimsy built-in speaker cable.

So.....which one am I keeping? That's a good question. I'm DEFINITELY returning the X-Mini II. It performed the worst of the 3, it has flimsy cables, and it costs as much as the Altec. Although the iHome requires that you use the bulkier combo-cord, it sounds better and costs $10 less than the X-Mini II. No-brainer.

How about the Altec? It sounds the best, but has some limitations. I might keep BOTH the Altec and the iHome. But I'm DEFINITELY keeping the iHome, which is the all-around winner in this speaker shoot-out when you compare sound, price, and features.

A couple more remarks. The iHome packaging is maddening. The speaker is wire-tied into the package, making it extremely difficult to remove. I ended up essentially destroying the packaging in order to remove the speaker. But perhaps iHome did that on purpose, so as to discourage returns. Very annoying, but not a deal-breaker. Also, the iHome's cable has a hard plastic clip attached that is supposed to be used as a wire-tie. I have very good manual dexterity, but I was unable to fold the cable back up and clip it back together. Nice try, iHome, but the velcro cable-tie of the X-Mini II is a much better design.....too bad they decided to include such a flimsy cable.

I hope this review helps you in your purchase of a portable speaker for your notebook computer or iPod/iPhone. Be sure to check out my VIDEO REVIEW, which includes sound bytes from all 3 speakers. It is located here: iHOME Rechargeable Mini Speakers for iPod (Blue).
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on August 17, 2011
Ok, I bought this hoping it would work as a car audio system in an old noisy truck; I'm pleased to say it works perfectly for that! Read on...

So I bought an old truck recently (circa 1984). It's missing a stereo, and I use this truck 5 days a week for work. I don't want to put any money into this truck; but I really miss my tunes. I only use my iPhone for music, but it just doesn't get loud enough to hear over the clatter of an old diesel truck. All I needed was a cheap car amp and speakers for audio (no head unit, I would use my iPhone). Unfortunately, this kind of setup would still cost me a minimum $100 and the time to install. Then I ran across this little gem...

Long story short, this speak gets loud, VERY LOUD! If you crank it up all the way, it just starts to distort, just a little. About 90% volume is perfect in my old noisy truck. I can clearly hear the music, its surprisingly loud, and I can even hear a little bass. On top of that, it charges off my USB car charger (along with my iPhone). It's perfect for me!

Pros:
+Plugs into iPhone (or any other device) with standard 3.5 mm headphone cable (included!)
+Bass design - No exaggerating, this speaker has VERY surprising volume and bass for its size! Really!
+Rechargeable battery - no idea how long this lasts, but it's the best battery available, a lithium ion! I'm surprised they put such an expensive battery in this. Most companies would settle for a cheaper Ni-CD battery.
+Collapsible - it gets even tinier for easy travel/portability. This would be great to pack in a suitcase, backpack, glove box, purse, bike bag, etc.
+Expandable - you can link 2 of these together for simulated stereo - I may just try this.
+Charges with standard USB plug - I charge it off my iPhone car charger while in the car, and my laptop when at home (blows the laptop speakers away too)
+Comes with carrying case and all required cables
+Portable - no permanent setup. I can use it in my truck, at the beach, camping, on a hike, on my bike, in the yard while working, etc!

Cons:
+None found yet. I'll update this review if I do.

In Conclusion...
This speaker is DEFINITELY worth the $20 I paid. In fact, I think I would have been just as satisfied if I paid $30 or even $40 for such an amazing little speaker. I say if your on the fence, TRY IT! Return it if you really don't like it. I can't imagine why you wouldn't be pleased with it. If there is a better speaker at this price point, I would REALLY like to know! I can't imagine it's possible.

***************************
UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 2012
***************************
I wrote my original review on this product in August 2011. I've now owned this product for a total of 1 year, 1 month.

I love this little speaker. I no longer have the big loud truck, so I've retired the little speaker to in and around the house and office; and occasionaly outside for yard work. It's a great small speaker to bring with you everywhere to fill a room with plenty of sound; louder then I ever imagined. I can listen to spoken podcasts clearly, or music as loud as is comfortable for my ears while I work on my projects.

It still sounds, operates, and looks as good as the day I received it. I am extremely satisfied with this purchase and the price I paid. If you are looking for a small, affordable speaker to boost your phone, laptop, iPod, iPad, or whatever; this is definately highly recommend by me.

I'm a very pleased, very impressed, and very satisfied customer.

Thanks iHome. We appreciate quality products at fair prices. Please keep it up and never give up on quality.

[Please Vote!]
I hope this review gives you some insight and help with your choice, and a little knowledge from an unbiased owner. If so, please click on "YES" below this review to vote it as helpful. Thanks!

(Thanks for the questions, comments and votes fellow Amazon shoppers... keep them coming too!)
1414 comments|1,768 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 4, 2010
Alright, before I tell you how awesome this product is, let me preface with this: I was the media supervisor (oversaw mp3 accessories) before becoming the Home Theater supervisor at Best Buy for 3 years. In that time, I demo'd every speaker system from hand-held battery operated to full blown 7.2 systems that passed through those doors. I'm a speaker guy--I spent $6500 on subs for my car. This little $20 speaker is more than impressive. I don't work for Best Buy anymore but if I were there, you can believe that I would sell 10 of these a week in the off season. The mids and highs from this little speaker are exceptional. When hooked up to the iPhone, the distortion in audio is only evident at max volume. Even so, the loss of audio is minimal and not enough to make you turn it down--that occurs when it's just too loud for the area you are trying to fill with sound. In the month that this speaker has been in possession, it has been used outdoors, as the system on my mountain bike, and the radio for our hotel while traveling. In all of these instances, the little iHome speaker was turned down just a tad because it gets so loud. I can't wait to try it out during beach season where we compete with the wind and other radios. The bass is still nice. Although the low frequencies do not "quake" the ways the mids/highs "tweet", for it's size and price, you are still getting more than what you deserve. The quality of audio for a portable speaker system is phenomenal. If you consider the size vs. other portable systems, it's mind-boggling. Most of the stationary iPod docks I've sold over the years don't even compare to the sound you get out of this tiny speaker. The battery life is great; we took it on a trip to a 2 night festival and didn't need to recharge it at all. I'm still using it off the same charge and it's had at least 8 hours of continuous play. The only con I've found so far is that since it's so small, when played at high volumes, the bass makes the thing almost jump off of hard surfaces. This cause the speaker to either move itself from where it was placed, or cause an unpleasing sound with your tunes. The couple of times this has been an issue (and one I really don't mind), I simply placed a piece of fabric beneath it to absorb the vibrations. I'm a speaker guy. If I had to choose a speaker to demo for people to "wow" them, I would normally choose my Eclipse Titanium subs. I now impress people with this tiny little speaker! This is going to be the gift I give to people until I find another phenomenal product to take its place. If you are looking for a compact unit with clear, loud sound...look no further. This thing is amazing. I would not be shocked if they were charging $80 for this portable system. It seems really durable, but we've only owned it a month. Short of falling to pieces next week, I can't imagine this product not receiving 5 stars from every user. Don't think about buying this product and just BUY IT. You will not be disappointed. Best portable speaker I have ever come across, no doubt.

***UPDATE 7/13/12***
It's been over a year and a half since I left this review. Since then, we have purchased several more of this speaker. A few of them are for ourselves (we always have one charged up!) and we have gifted a few. One of the models we purchased has color changing LED lights that make for a nice, calm visual during the evening. The original speaker that we purchased and first reviewed is still in 100% working condition! My sister left one of her speakers in her car and it got fried from the heat. We live in Florida and she probably had it on the dash or somewhere with direct sunlight and no ventilation. We have left ours in the car with no issue and also used them a TON at the blazing hot beach. We take a small beach bucket with us to put the speaker in while we're in the sand to help protect it and our iPhones from the elements. While in the bucket, the sound from the speaker is amplified considerably! We've continued to impress folks with these little speakers and still use them everywhere. They make a nice external speaker for computers and vehicles without audio systems. Anyway--amazing speaker and only $20; still in love. <3
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on June 3, 2011
I purchased this and four other brands/models because I wanted to hear with my own ears which ones were the best in this micro portable speaker category.
The ones I tried were:
X-Mini Max II Capsule Speakers (White)
X-Mini II Capsule Speaker (Red)
Satechi SD Mini Portable Pocket Speaker
iHome iHM60LT Rechargeable Mini Speaker (Blue Translucent)
iTour-POP Ultra Portable Rechargeable Speaker
I did not include the Altec Lansing iM-237 Orbit Speaker since it is not rechargeable.

Sound quality, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best of the group, and 1 being the built-in speaker in an iPhone or iPod Touch:
iTour: 10/10
iHome: 8.5/10
Satechi: 7
X-Mini II: 7
X-Mini Max II: 4

The iTour-POP wins it, no contest really. Amazing full sound and low distortion from a speaker this size. It's a little bigger in diameter than the others, but not as tall. Stays put, even at high volume. The next three all sound pretty good, if you didn't hear them side by side with the others, you'd be pretty satisfied with purchasing any of them. These three all suffer from 'walking' across the table at high volume, the bass thumps just make them jump a little with every beat, with the iHome being the worst at that. Not a huge deal, but it could drag itself and your $150 Nano of the counter and onto the floor... The Satechi is the only one with the built-in SD slot, which is pretty cool.
Finally, the X-Mini Max II: what a disapointment, horrible sound quality compared to the rest, especially the lower frequencies. Very tinny and distorts more than the others. Cross this one off your list.
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on April 12, 2010
I've barely had this speaker for a little while and I'm raving about it. It charged within 30 minutes (WOW!!), and its bass quality and response is GREAT. It can handle full bass on around 98% volume from my iPod without giving me any scratchiness! Its general sound for music ranging from classical to rap blows me away. Literally.

Overall, this product is just what I needed-a small, portable speaker with decent sound-at an affordable price. The sound is more than decent, and it also works great with vocal podcasts. Clarity of sound is very good, and it looks really cool.

Its only drawback is that it charges and plays music through the same cable, so you have a bulky USB dongol on one end, in addition to the standard 3.5mm jack at the same end of the cord. All audio is routed through the USB cable, but it won't play digital audio from a USB port.

I would recommend this product to anyone who wants a small, affordable speaker.

UPDATE: There is a defect which causes some of these to make a scratchy sound after a while, regardless of battery charge. I think it's an issue with the connector or the circuit board inside. Although they are a great value, there are now some better options out there. Shop around!
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on July 28, 2010
This is a great portable speaker.
1) The rechargeable battery means you don't waste AA or AAA batteries
2) Its loud and clear for its small size.
3) Its well-built.
4) Its inexpensive.

NOTE: Its a bit confusing how this speaker hooks up to your computer or mp3 player. Here's the gist of it:
* There's a special cable that has a headphone plug and usb plug on one end and a mini-usb plug on the other end. You can use this cable to plug one end into anything that has a headphone jack and then plug the other end into the usb jack on the speaker. The usb plug on the same end as the headphone plug can just be left dangling, or you can plug it in somewhere to power the speaker.

* ALSO, there is a "line-out" jack on the speaker, which the user manual says you can use to "daisy-chain" two of these speakers together. If you have a 1/8" (aka 3.5mm) "aux" cable (it has headphone plugs on both ends) you can just use that to play the audio from your laptop or mp3 player. To charge the speaker, though you have to use the special included cable, or any other mini-usb cable.

Make sure to look at the product pages for the other colors too. There are lots of reviews that pretty much say everything else that can be said about how great this speaker is:
Red (iHM60RC)
Purple (iHM60UC)
Blue (iHM60LC)
Gray (iHM60GC)
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on November 20, 2012
So I'm in the shower on the second floor jamming out to some music with this thing plugged into my iPhone with the volume on the phone set to 13/15. I hear a text from my wife then a phone call from my wife. I obviously can't answer because I'm in the shower. She then bursts into the bathroom, turns off the speaker, and says "TOO LOUD!" I was on the second floor, she was on the first. This thing is awesome!
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on January 26, 2011
Two words: thoroughly impressed! So much that it motivated me to write my first review. I buy products here on Amazon based usually on what other customers' reviews are so I hope people will take my advice if you are considering purchasing this speaker. For the size, price and class of speaker, it is fantastic. You will get a full spectrum of sound. From low bass to mid/high range sound with enough power to "crank it up" if you like. I owned and operated a car audio business for a number of years and installed your basic to high end car audio equipment. I can honestly say I have an "ear" for quality sound. I bought two of them to listen to music in "stereo". When I unpacked them and plugged them into my laptop, it brought a smile to my face. I played several different types of music and was pleased these little speakers could stay up with what ever I could throw at them without distorting. I tried them on my phone as well as my ipod.....same result! The next day I had a few of my friends listen to them and they too were impressed and wanted to know where I had bought them. Granted, this speaker will not compete with a home stereo system or a quality computer sound system but you won't be disappointed if you buy them. One review mentioned that these speakers rattle around on a hard surface when turned up and playing music that has a lot of bass in it. This is true but I set the speakers on top of the cloth storage sacks that come with the speakers and it solves this problem for me. The charge on these speakers lasts me all day and they don't take long to re-charge. If you are looking for a great sounding, highly mobile (smaller than a hockey puck), very easy to use speaker....look no further!
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on April 14, 2014
This is a great little speaker. I use with my iPhone. I like that you can either extend the unit up for a little more base or keep closed. It charges so no batteries to waste. Great sound. Thinking of buying one for each of the family members too.
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on November 5, 2013
In a nutshell, I'd recommend this speaker to nearly anyone. I am extremely happy with this purchase.

I've had this little guy for nearly a year and I've loved it from the first day I plugged it in. It really surprised me with the quality of sound and the volume. When the battery is running low, the sound will distort and break up at louder volumes, but that's rarely an issue for me because the battery stays pretty strong for a good long while before this occurs. My laptop speakers are sadly lacking in strong volume, and this speaker is great for getting the volume I'm missing and more!

I have two little beefs with this speaker, although neither is enough to make me lower my rating from five stars. One issue is that it messes up the reception of my little radio when I try to plug the speaker into the radio. No matter how long I stretch out the cable to get distance between the two, the speaker is unusable with my little FM mono radio. Oh well, it still kicks butt plugged into my Android, iPod, and computer.

The second minor issue is that at high volumes, this speaker vibrates and dances around the surface it's on. It bounced its way off a shelf once, and now I know to set the iPod on the cord near the speaker to hold it in place. A minor issue, and easily worked around.
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