Review: Finally! a Gadget Worth Carrying. the iHome Portable Speaker.

Review: Finally! A Gadget Worth Carrying.


Every time I buy new gear I always end up with a luxury item that I bring along that generally turns out to be useless. When I first left for Thailand, I invested in an ultralight camping setup and a two-pound pair of really nice binoculars.

I soon found that there really aren’t many places to camp in Thailand, other than National Parks and camping in 95 degree temps in the jungle wasn’t as appealing as one might think. I donated my sleeping pad to a desk clerk I found sleeping on the concrete floor in my hotel and the binoculars got stolen from the top of a bus somewhere in Cambodia. About seven pounds of camping gear and gadgetry got shipped home, slowboat.

The next time I geared up, I decided to try a monocular — kind of like a half pair of binoculars.

They only cost $40, weighed half a pound and I think I used them once. They were nearly impossible to focus and the zoom on my DSLR was almost as strong, so I gave them to a kid in Honduras — he was thrilled.

This time my friend over at showed me her favorite new gadget, the iHome portable speaker. And it is well worth the $20 I spent at Walgreen’s buying mine.

Review: Finally! A Gadget Worth Carrying. iHome SpeakerThey have a USB-charged battery, so they can be used on an iPhone or and iPad after charging. The cable is a hybrid USB-USB-micro with a built in speaker plug, so it can easily replace another cord you’re already carrying.

It folds up like a hockey puck but when opened, the plastic baffles produce a solid base sound. It’s not stereo but we’re talking about something you’re listening to from your laptop and that you paid $20 for. There’s also another stereo plug that allows you too hook another speaker in daisy-chain-style.

A friend here in Nicaragua told me they did this with 4 of the little things and managed to rock a dance floor at a house party.

The sound distorts at 100% volume but at 90% it’s clean and it’s 3-4x louder than my MacBook Pro. Weighs about a half pound. Highly recommended.

Added note: Once charged the speaker works on any phone or tablet with a speaker plug outlet. The battery lasts well over an hour.

(full disclosure: for each one you buy from this link I get 70 cents so please buy thousands of them :)

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures June 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I have something similar and I LOVE it!!!


wes June 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Sooooo handy :)


trevor June 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm

lots of use less luxury items that out door shops say we cant live without. ALL life time garentee items last about 6 months…….

best bits of kit : Salomon XA Pro 3D ultra running shoes, socks from INOV8, inner soles from Superfeet… cold weather gear from BUFFALO (Sheffield, UK)… everything else i have bought over the years has let me down….

ps….. if my lap top speakers are sub standard i plug in some head phones…. ;))) Trevor


wes June 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I’d add Keen’s sandals and Underarmor tshirts (the new ‘soft’ kind). Fabulous.


Glenn Dixon June 17, 2013 at 8:33 pm

This is about 20% louder than our Diamond bluetooth speakers – which come in pairs. No bluetooth, but still. Not bad!


wes June 18, 2013 at 3:56 pm

and less than $20 on amazon. If it dies today, I’ve got my money’s worth out if it — use it every day.


OCDemon June 18, 2013 at 1:31 am

By the way, for the REALLY budget backpackers, you can actually just but your iPhone into a bowl and it’ll amplify the sound. A lot. Probably not so great for impressing your peers, but it’ll work!


wes June 18, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Heh. Increase in volume: 25%. Decrease in chances of getting laid: 75% ;)


Phil June 26, 2013 at 10:37 am



Mo Draj June 18, 2013 at 5:35 am

Thats defno a handy tool while traveling…


Kitty June 18, 2013 at 6:08 am

bought one of these for a Christmas present for my husband to use on the deck, we’ve used it about 10-20 times and it’s already dead – excellent while it lasted, though!


wes June 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Bummer! Mine is 6 months old and going strong — a roommate borrowed it for his iPhone last night and it went over 2 hours on a single charge.


Daniel @ TeacherGig August 11, 2013 at 3:48 am

Very cool little gadget. Looks perfect for beaches, camping trips, and the like. Of course I’m stating the obvious here…

But I think you just found me the next new surprise gift for my girlfriend. She’s trying to learn English through songs (when I teach her from a book, her eyelids start to droop after just 4 vocabulary words), and we are running out of time before a trip to an English-speaking country. I know we could spend the whole time in Chinatown, but it’s the principle of the thing.

Thanks for the review!


Steve October 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Haha i have the same but 3 or 4 times as loud as my laptop.. hell no :) Nonetheless worth the money!


Motch March 9, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Portable speakers are very in demand as most of these new products have a superb audio quality and their prices are affordable.