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iHome iP9 : The Only Home System You Need

Ok, the iHome iP9 isn't portable so much for air travel (it fits in a carry-on bag, but it's a bit bulky if I'm also traveling with my laptop), but if I'm traveling by car or train, you bet I'm bringing it with me.

Smooth, crisp sound-this bedside or desktop box completely replaces my alarm clock, my radio, and my old portable desktop iPod speakers. (I packed up my old stereo and shoved it in a closet years ago.) In fact, next to my PowerBook, my iP9 would be the second thing I'd grab if a fire or natural disaster caused me to flee my condo within seconds.

So, my old 10 GB iPod doesn't fit in the docking station; I can still use the iP9 by plugging in my iPod into the line in jack in the back. Now for my new iPod, I just plop a plastic cradle on the bottom of it and gently place it in the docking station. (Same goes for the iPhone, if I only had one.) As long as the box is plugged in, my iPod charges automatically. Cool.

The best thing about the iP9: I can wake up to my own playlist. Bowie. The Who. The Replacements. Billy Bragg. Abba. Whatever I want. It's easy to set the clock, and I have the choice of two separate alarms (a great feature for me since I tend to hit the snooze so many times that a second alarm is almost always necessary). However, with the iP9, I can set the snooze for up to 29 minutes, so I can save the second alarm for later in the day when it's time to stop working and eat lunch (yes, I forget to eat lunch.) Nice. I can set each alarm to buzzer, radio, iPhone, or iPod.

When I finally get up, I can grab my fully charged iPod and be on my way.

My favorite feature is the dimmer. I can lay in bed listening to Bob Marley or my "nighty-night" playlist, and the volume will gradually decrease after 15 to 120 minutes. Sweet. I don't have to get up to turn it off. I also really dig the metal grill plates on the speakers. It's just a personal preference. Plastic speaker covers just don't cut it for me.

Available in black or silver. Comes with radio antenna and remote control.

Bottom Line: I love this alarm clock/stereo. The digital display is large and easy to read, I have so many alarm and "fall asleep to my music" options, and best of all -- the sound quality is great.--E.D. (May 09)

Price : $100 on sale at Amazon - silver, iHome iHP9 (Black) -$83.86

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