iHome iAV5B Is a Bluetooth Speakerdock That Will Brighten Your Amazon Echo Dot’s Day

We recently reviewed the iHome iAV2. It’s a speaker dock that not only gives an Amazon Echo Dot much-improved sound but also doubles as a bedside clock. iHome also offers the iAV5B. It too greatly improves the sound from an Echo Dot but, while it lacks a clock, it adds something rather fun. Its lights make your music a visual treat.

Like the iHome iAV 2, when you pull the iAV5B out of the box, you will immediately notice the circular spot on top. This is where the Amazon Echo Dot goes and is perfectly sized for the Rev 2 version of Amazon’s smallest and most inexpensive Echo product.

That, however, is where the similarities end. The iAV2 offers connections that not only power the Echo Dot but also create a physical audio connection, so the sound from the Dot plays directly through the speaker dock. The iAV5B, on the other hand, connects to, and powers the Dot but there is no Aux-In port. Instead, one the speaker and the Dot are connected and powered on; the two can be paired via Bluetooth. Once the pairing, which is accomplished via the Amazon Echo app, is complete, the audio from the Dot will play through the iHome dock. It is a bit more cumbersome than simply plugging the Dot into the dock as you do with the previous iHome dock but it works well. One benefit of iHome using Bluetooth is that you aren’t limited to using the speaker in the iAV5B with your Amazon Echo Dot Gen2. No, since the speaker has Bluetooth, you can also pair it to any number of devices and enjoy your music with much better sound than a phone or tablet can offer.

The iAV5B weighs just over one and a quarter pounds without the Amazon Echo Dot and measures 4.93″ by 4.77″ by 5.04”.

The bottom of the speaker is black with the iHome logo visible. The top of the speaker is a smooth plastic that changes color when used. (More on that in a moment.)

At the back of the speaker is a rubber door that opens to reveal the USB to micro USB charging port that powers the Amazon Echo Dot.

Beneath the door, there are touch controls for power, Bluetooth pairing, and light control. There is also a micro USB port for powering the speaker and Dot.

Once both the speaker and the Dot are powered up, you can pair the two by pushing the Bluetooth button on the iAV5B and going to the Bluetooth settings in the Alexa app on your phone or tablet. Once paired the sound from the dot will come through the iHome speaker.

That’s where the fun starts since, of course, the iAV5B is a rather colorful speaker. You can use the speaker dock as a simple speaker dock or, by pressing the button controlling the light, you can bring your music to life. The dock isn’t bright, but it does get bright enough to draw attention to itself. As much plays the light’s color and “shape” changes.

In a way, it is like a modern version of the Lava Lamps that were part of my childhood. Toggling through the various light settings by pressing the light button changes the color and intensity. Options available include Slow Fade Mode, Fast Change Mode, Favorite Color Mode and Pulse to the Music Mode. There is, as mentioned, an option to turn the light completely off too.

As iHome explains:

Bring the party anywhere with your Amazon Echo Dot through this compact portable stereo speaker with color changing LEDs. Passive radiator for enhanced bass. Wirelessly stream Bluetooth audio from compatible devices. Enjoy enhanced audio from your Amazon Echo Dot™ anywhere in your home environment. Operates on internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery. 6 color changing modes for fun, fabulous color effects.

When I received the iHome iAV5B, I wasn’t sure what to make of the light feature. Sure, it’s a cute little extra, but there’s a reason Lava Lamps went out of style. So, while the light feature is fun and, I can see using it for fun once in a while, but I’ve found myself using the dock with the lights set to off most of the time.

Features:

  • Specially designed to power & connect your Amazon Echo Dot (Gen 2)
  • Micro USB charging cable connection to power the Amazon Echo Dot
  • Control speaker volume from Amazon Echo Dot
  • Let Alexa control your home from the bedside.
  • Color Changing: 5 color modes to set the mood: Glow (slow fade), fast, favorite color, pulse to music, and preset pulsing mode
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth wireless audio Stream digital audio wirelessly from your Bluetooth-enabled audio device
  • Sound: Reson speaker chambers Specially designed sealed speaker enclosures deliver astounding clarity, depth, and power
  • Rechargeable Battery: Built-in rechargeable battery Long-lasting rechargeable internal lithium-ion battery
  • Operates up to 8 hours when fully charged
  • Speakerphone with digital voice echo cancellation and talk/end controls
  • Battery status LED indicators

At $59.99, the iHome iAV5B is a convenient and affordable way to get better sound from the Amazon Echo Dot Gen2 you already own.

It lets you take full advantage of the Dot’s smart home features while bypassing the terrible speaker built into Amazon’s most affordable Echo product. Add in the fact that you can connect any audio source with Bluetooth and the ability to use the dock as a fun light show and, if you already own an Amazon Echo Dot Gen2 and want better sound, this is a product worth checking out. Learn more here.

 

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the iHome iAV5B

What I Like: Holds and powers the Amazon Echo Dot Gen2; Can draw audio from any number of Bluetooth-enabled sources; Sounds much better than the Amazon Echo Dot on its own; Can be used to create a fun light show with a variety of modes to fit your mood

What Needs Improvement: Sound is better than the Dot’s but still won’t impress those looking for great sound; Lights are a cute gimmick but one that I suspect most people will quickly tire of using


About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.