The tiny iHome iHM77 Capsule portable speakers blew away my expectations the minute I plugged them in to my iPhone. The speakers can fit in your pocket, but are louder than any internal notebook speaker I’ve heard and deliver more sound per ounce than any portable speaker I know of.
When iHome first contacted me about these speakers I assumed they were little more than toys, but I’m so impressed with them that I strongly recommend the iHM77 speakers to anyone who wants a truly portable audio system.
The iHome Capsule speaker truly delivers on its “Sound Beyond Size” tag line. The speakers each have rechargeable 2W amps built into them. While sitting at a desk these things can actually hurt your ears at 80% volume.
The iHome iHM77 “Capsule Speaker” system consists of two semi-spherical speakers and a cable that has one standard USB plug, two mini-USB plugs and a standard headphone connector. It comes with a felt carrying bag and a rubber cord organizer.
The two iHM77 speakers magnetically stick to the bottom of each other, creating the capsule look. They can be used while stuck together, but it’s best to yank them apart and position them as far as possible away from each other to create a better stereo effect.
The standard USB plug hooks into your notebook for power to charge the speakers. The headphone connector can plug into any notebook, iPod or other device with a 3.5mm jack.
The top portion of the speaker twists upwards and expands like an accordion to create a bigger chamber, which improves bass response.
Using the iHome Capsule iHM77
I tested the iHM77 capsule speakers on my Lenovo IdeaPad S10, MacBook Pro and iPhone. The speakers came charged the out of the box experience is truly plug and play.
The bass tones are acceptable at low to mid volumes when sitting down, but it doesn’t fill the room as you may be used to with larger speakers. Bass also distorts if you crank up the volume to the max. Mid and high tones are relatively clear, but somewhat tinny on some tracks.
They are the perfect companion for thin and light notebooks (including netbooks), which usually come with barely audible internal speakers. I watched an episode of Heros on the IdeaPad S10 streamed from my SlingBox and the speakers made the show come to life.
I plugged the iHM77’s into my iPhone and streamed music over Pandora and while they sounded good, the multi-plug cord got tangled and was really annoying until I wised up and used the rubber cord organizer. I often listen to my iPhone with earphones, but it’s really nice to haves some decent sounding speakers that you don’t have to think about lugging from room to room.
When I plugged them into my MacBook Pro I tilted the speakers against the lower case of the computer so they were pointing at me diagonally rather than upwards. They sounded the best in this position.
Most music I listened to sounded good (jazz, pop and a couple of 80’s tracks), but you’ll want to tweak your equalizer to reduce bass-heavy tracks.
I listened to music and video for over five hours at a bout 3/4 volume on the three devices on battery power and they were still kicking strong. iHome doesn’t advertise maximum battery life, but this was again way beyond my expectations.
One thing that bugs me is that their’s significant hissing and distortion if you try to listen to the speakers and charge them at the same time. It’s best to turn them off while charging to avoid this.
These speakers can fill a bedroom, office or hotel room with good background music. They do have their limits- don’t expect the capsule speakers to be the star at a loud party.
The iHome iHM77 capsule speakers offer amazing sound in a “too small to believe it” form factor.
If you want to add some extra punch to your multimedia experience, but aren’t too picky about audio accuracy, the iHome Capsule Speakers will work fine. If you want to blow your ears off there are better solutions. These featherweight speakers are worth their weight in gold and well worth their $49.99 price tag.