The iLuv i9200 combines four vertically-mounted CD players, an MW/FM radio with 16-station memory per band, a sensibly-placed iPod dock and a set of decent stereo speakers.
The 42cm tall iLuv i9200 is wall-mountable or floor-standing, with CD players that are protected by sliding doors that retract at the touch of a button. The system recharges a docked iPod, and is designed to accentuate the music player’s iconic status, like a little black shrine.
The i9200 can navigate and play MP3 CDs and standard CDs, and lets you program up to 40 tracks for playback. Additional functions include mute, sleep, timer, and a clock display with sleep function.
The front of the iLuv i9200 hosts volume and power switches, while additional controls are situated discreetly in front at the bottom and include a 3.5mm headphone port. The round, white-illuminated, silver-bordered LCD screen is easy to read from across the room.
Connectivity is limited – there’s no auxiliary sound input. The iLuv i9200 offers connections for the two speakers and an RCA jack for a subwoofer.
Each speaker contains two cones: a 45mm tweeter and a 90mm cone for the bass and mid-range. There’s practically no sound distortion at maximum volume, which is 50W (two 10W and two 15W cones). The iLuv i9200’s sound quality is excellent for a system without a built-in bass subwoofer. The treble is well-detailed and the overall sound balance is sensitive.
Despite its excellent acoustic reproduction, the iLuv i9200's one-size-fits-all strategy means users can’t tweak settings to get the sound they want as there are no bass, treble, EQ or sound balance controls.
The iLuv i9200 ships with an occasionally unresponsive infrared remote control. We found elements of its interface confusing. Rather than a single control, it has two play/pause buttons, one each for the CDs and the iPod. The iPod navigation is limited, too – you can’t navigate through the menu using the remote.
Impressive looks and good sound quality means iLuv could be on to a winner with the retro-styled iLuv i9200. While there are criticisms – particularly of the remote and the lack of a line-in port for other devices – we believe this system could be a unique digital hub for iPod users who still use CDs.