iHome Bluetooth Clock Radio – Review

iHome Bluetooth Clock Radio
Model: iBN97
Manufacturer: iHome Audio
MSRP: $99.99
iHome Bluetooth Clock Radio


Bedside clock radios—remember those? The ubiquity of smartphones with integrated alarms makes being wakened by a clock radio seem almost quaint. iHome Audio has freshened the concept a bit with their iBN97 Bluetooth Clock Radio.

Pair up your iPhone (or other Bluetooth equipped device) and you can play your music or listen to podcasts over the radio’s great-sounding RESON8 speakers. If you have an NFC (near field communication) compatible device, that can also be paired with this radio. There is also an Aux-in jack for connecting non-Bluetooth audio sources.


Many of us charge our phones on the nightstand. The iBN97 Bluetooth Clock Radio has a USB socket on its back that supplies the power needed to charge your phone (you simply use the cable that came with your phone). Included with the radio is an optional prop that allows you to stand an iPhone (or even an iPad) on top where you can see it.


When the phone is connected, you can take a call that is heard through the speakers and answered via an integrated microphone—as long as your partner doesn’t strangle you first. It works, but I’m not a fan.

The iBN97 Bluetooth Clock Radio has the usual features: adjustable snooze time, gradual wake volume, dual alarms, Sure Alarm battery backup, and 7-5-2 alarm settings for full week, work week, or weekend with separate wake times and alarm sources. Its universal power adapter permits use from 100V to 240V AC. The top of the radio has lots of buttons. Sixteen of them. They are clustered by function and are identified clearly. Some are backlit, and they dim appropriately as the front panel brightness is adjusted. What happened to knobs, anyway? Adjusting volume requires two buttons whereas a knob is a single control.

RadioTop 2

When Bluetooth technology was new, it was a wireless revelation. It is now becoming common enough for consumers to own several devices that incorporate it. With this comes a problem: You can only connect to one Bluetooth device at a time. When the radio is paired with your phone, the only way to use it for another purpose, is to turn off its Bluetooth feature. If you want to pair with your Bluetooth headphones, say, you have to instruct your phone to forget the radio. This means that you must re-pair with the radio the next time you want to use it. I’m sure technology is around the corner that will overcome this frustrating business but for now it’s an awkward pain.

The iBN97 Bluetooth Clock Radio is a well equipped, great sounding radio that is priced competitively considering its many features. Whether or not you choose to use all of its high-technology is for you to decide depending on your lifestyle.

MyMac Review rating is 8 out of 10.

(Near field communication explanation)



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