It’s no bank-breaking accessory for a smartphone or tablet, but one that I at least could not do without.
It’s loud, and sounds great; great-quality while loud, and has a solid-built quality touch to it- And it’s the iHome iBT16 mini Bluetooth speaker.
You can play audio using different connection methods with this speaker- and I’m going to go over them in this overview because everything else that needs to be said about the speaker, is all stated in the first two short sentences the begin this review, which earn it my 5/5 star rating.
Let’s start off with the coolest method of connecting; using NFC. My Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has NFC capabilities, as do many other phones and tablets. NFC (Near Field Communication) can be used for lots of other things, but in this case it’s basically just a shortcut to connecting to the speaker by pairing your phone to the speaker using Bluetooth. You can use NFC by holding the phone over the speaker for just 3-5 seconds. Then obviously there is just the Bluetooth connection method.
There is an AUX port so you can plug anything into its 3.5mm jack, and it’s bi-directional.
This is understated but importantly awesome!
Examples: Smartphone plugged into AUX port on speaker using a basic male-to-male 3.5mm cable plays whats on the phone; -AUX audio-in. But when I have my phone paired through Bluetooth to this speaker, I can then connect this speaker to my stereo with a 3.5mm to RCA (red & white) audio cable. So now it plays through this speaker but also through my home audio speaker system; -AUX audio-out.
The cable it comes with, 3.5mm and USB jacks on one side, and a micro USB jack on the other, adds another audio playback method. Plug the cable into your computer, laptop, etc, using the 3.5mm (headphone jack) and the USB to a free port, then the micro USB jack into the speaker and it not only charges it but plays audio from your computer through the speaker.
This all might not sound amazing but you’ve got at least 5 ways to connect, utilize, and/or get your music playing through this. NFC, Bluetooth, AUX-in, AUX-out, micro USB (When using the provided headphone jack and USB cable).
Favorite Feature: using the NFC to easily and quickly pair my phone and it’s Bluetooth to the speaker.
Best Utilization: This basically can and will make anything you have (older care stereo, home theater system, any stereo, or anything that can play audio and audio out to a 3.5mm jack) a wireless reviver. I plug this into my ancient, but great, TEAC receiver -and now its a wireless AND Bluetooth capable stereo system, with this as one extra little speaker!
What iHome has to say about their iBT16:
Rock with the Block | Bring the party where ever you go with the iBT16 mini Bluetooth speaker. Stream wireless digital audio via Bluetooth from your iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and other Bluetooth-enabled devices. The iBT16 also has an aux line-in jack, as well as a line-out jack for an expandable audio experience.
- Bluetooth wireless audio
Wirelessly connect your Bluetooth-enabled phone, iPad, PDA or computer
- Built-in rechargeable battery
Long-lasting internal lithium ion battery gives speakers plenty of power up to 8 hrs. (Initial charge 3-5 hrs.)
Sound Beyond Size
- Single speaker
Specially designed high-end driver delivers astounding clarity, depth and power in single speaker
- Supplied cable for charging speakers and connecting to audio source
2 -in-1 cable has a USB plug for charging speaker and audio plugs for connecting to audio source so you can charge speaker while listening
- Aux line out jack to connect additional speaker
Use single speaker for mono sound, or connect multiple speakers for a “wall of sound”
*NOTE: Additional cable required if using two speakers.
- Durable rubberized cabinet finish