Skip to main content

iHome ventures outdoors with its Weather Tough speakers

SDI’s iHome brand has been around for over a decade and is well-known among consumers looking for affordable audio accessories for their mobile devices. Having recently moved away from docking station speakers in favor of wireless Bluetooth streaming, iHome is currently taking on the great outdoors with their Weather Tough series of portable speakers.

From pocket-sized to space-hungry bricks, there are four sizes in the lineup to choose from, with the iBT35 currently coming in at second largest. While its plain, black, rectangular shape isn’t particularly striking, blue accents from the rubber seals around the grilles and the playback control panel on top provide a modest visual contrast. The minimalist design is clearly secondary to its durable construction. Seated in the plastic housing and wrapped in thick, shock absorbent rubber are two drivers and a passive radiator behind rust-resistant metal speaker grilles. The speaker is purported military grade shockproof and in our hands-on survived a 4 foot drop to the ground without a blip in playback. It is also IP67 waterproof rated, allowing it to get wet, dusty, and even submerged to 3 feet for up to 30 minutes.

A rubber sealed door on the left hand side covers the unit’s reset button, Aux-in port, microUSB charging port, and an eco battery mode switch. In normal playback mode, the fully charged speaker lasts about 8 hours of use, but with eco mode turned on, the volume is decreased slightly allowing it to run up to 14 hours. The playback controls on top are straightforward with a power button, volume controls, play/pause and Bluetooth pairing button, and skip track navigation which also double as answer and end call keys for hands-free calling when paired with a mobile phone.

The audio quality is fair, but not amazing. The midranges come across clear and crisp, with a balance that’s on the bright side, but the bass response is somewhat thin and flat. That said, the sound is not bad for a speaker this size. It does highlight the vocals on most tracks and sounds better than many mobile phones speakers making it a decent option for music at parties and small outdoor gatherings. The volume can be cranked pretty high, but at the max, you’ll get some grainy distortion and exaggerated sibilance in the upper ranges.

The iBT35 is essentially a stripped down version of iHome’s iBN6 speaker, minus features like NFC pairing and USB output and a few accessories to differentiate it and keep the price lower. If you’re looking for an affordable and decent sounding Bluetooth speaker that you can also take along for outdoor activities, either fits the bill. While the fully featured iBN6 costs $100, the iBT35 will only set you back $60, leaving it up to you to decide between cost or functionality.

Editors' Recommendations

Philip Chung
Philip is an industrial engineer who truly enjoys writing and exploring new tech products. He started writing reviews in 2010…
Sony expands its X-Series with 3 new go-anywhere speakers
Sony XG300 speaker held by by hand.

The Sony consumer audio lineup can feel like a bit of a complicated space — particularly when it comes to headphones — but the Bluetooth speaker lineup has never quite been the flagship of the range. Today, Sony is announcing three new X-Series speakers that fill out the existing X-Series models with even more options for more people.

The SRS-XG300 sits just under Sony’s existing SRS-XG500 as a cylindrical, boombox-style powerhouse meant to fill your backyard parties with tons of sound. This speaker is notably smaller than the XG500, and would be ideal for those who want something that’s loud and versatile, but doesn’t take up quite as much space in a backpack.

Read more
Marshall’s third-generation home speakers go eco-friendly with a wider soundstage
Marshall III speakers are sitting on an entertainment console.

Marshall’s line of in-home wireless speakers has always aimed to bring powerful sound and elegant design to your bookshelf, and the third generation available now carries that just a bit further into the modern day. The new lineup features the small space-friendly Acton III, the mid-sized Stanmore III, and the flagship Woburn III speakers.

Everything listeners love about the Marshall speaker line is still here. There's still decent power on deck with 15-watt tweeter amps on all models, and 30-watt, 50-watt, and 90-watt setups for each of the main drivers on the respective speaker models. The Woburn also folds in dedicated mid-frequency drivers for more fullness in general. There's also solid integration via Bluetooth aptX codec support, plus an array of wired inputs. But now Marshall is putting an emphasis on a few additional modern specs.

Read more
Apple to ditch its HomePod smart speaker but stick with mini version

Apple will stop selling its HomePod smart speaker and instead focus on the smaller version of the device.

The company confirmed its decision to TechCrunch, adding that the larger version of the smart speaker will continue to be available until supplies run out.

Read more