Sadly, after about 8 months of very occasional use, my iShower speaker will no longer power on. I don’t know of a better water-resistant speaker to suggest, but I can no longer recommend the iShower. (The unmodified text of my original review follows.)
Take Your Music Anywhere With iShower
Do you take showers? Do you enjoy listening to music? Have you ever wanted to combine the two? If so, the iShower by iDevices just might be the thing for you! iShower is a water-resistant wireless speaker which works with any Bluetooth-enabled portable device such as a smart phone, mp3 player, or tablet. Here’s a summary of the iShower speaker’s features:
- Water resistant, but not waterproof–it can safely get wet, but you shouldn’t submerge it.
- Wireless range up to 200 feet from paired device.
- Remembers up to five device pairings.
- Displays the time at the press of a button.
- Works with any app to play audio on your device.
- Play, pause, volume and forward/back controls.
- Includes a built-in stand, plus an adhesive wall mount for the shower.
- Includes one set of three AA batteries, which provide 15 hours of playback.
Showers are More Fun with Music
I have been listening to music in the shower for quite a while, and it does make shower time a lot more enjoyable. Before owning the iShower, I’d always use my Squeezebox Radio by putting it on a shelf near my shower and turning up the sound loud enough to hear over the running water in the shower. That meant it was loud enough for other members of the house to hear also–and they didn’t always appreciate it! It was also inconvenient if I wanted to access the music controls because although the Radio was within arm’s reach of the shower, I would have to dry my hand & arm and reach outside of the shower curtain to access the controls.
The iShower speaker is water resistant and is designed to go right into the shower with you. That means you don’t have to blast the music so loud that the entire household hears it. It also has controls built right onto the speaker, so you can leave your device safely away from the water and still have access to volume and transport controls.
Perhaps you are one of those people who thinks showers should only take five minutes and it’s hardly worth the bother of having music. Well, not all of us are able to pull that off! Even a rushed shower for me takes a minimum of 15 minutes–and, of course, I like to keep the tunes rolling while I perform my post-shower routine. But even if you are one of those five-minute showerers, the iShower speaker is great for all kinds of damp environments–at the beach, poolside, in the hot tub, or at the gym. And it makes a nice compact travel speaker, too.
I can’t say the iShower speaker has outstanding sound. It’s mono, for one thing. But for its intended purpose, it sounds good enough to me. The sound is better than the small Satechi portable bluetooth speaker I own, but not as good as the Squeezebox Radio. That said, I am by no means an audiophile, and impeccable sound is not something I concern myself with. The first time I used it in the shower, I felt the sound was sometimes harsh or grating. I thought this was due to the sound bouncing off the tile walls, and the next time I used it in the shower, I was able to dampen the harshness by hanging a washcloth behind the iShower (the speaker is in the back of it).
iShower’s audio does become distorted at higher volumes, but I have found this to be the case with most small, portable speakers. iShower advises adjusting the equalizer on your device if you experience distortion at higher volumes.
The speaker itself is rear-facing, and the controls are on the front. This makes sense for use in the shower where the sound is going to bounce back to you, but in other locations, such as at the beach, pool or spa, it’s less than ideal. When I used the iShower at the pool, I had to turn it around so the speaker was facing toward me, which improved the sound but made the controls less accessible.
For poolside use, I found the iShower a little too low in volume when competing with splashing and pool pump noise. I plan to stick with my Squeezebox Radio for poolside tunes, which I can also control with wet hands using my iPhone in a LifeProof case.
I did not use the included wall mount for the iShower. Instead, I simply placed the hinged kickstand over the towel bar in my shower, where it stayed in place by leverage. The hinged stand also allows you to hang the iShower over your shower-head plumbing, as long as you don’t have an oversized shower-head.
The wall mount holds the iShower about 2 inches away from the wall and uses pegs to hang the speaker, so you can easily take it off the mount when you want to take it with you. The mount has several notches and grooves which baffled me at first. But when I re-read the press materials, I realized they must be for the optional shower mirror accessory, which has yet to materialize on the iShower web site.
iShower Design and Controls
I have to say, I think this thing is rather ugly and outdated-looking. I wonder if the designers were trying to make it look like a giant bar of soap? Though the hinged stand has a bit of grippy rubber on the bottom edge, the speaker itself does not, so when placed on a slick surface (such as granite counter top or bathtub edge), the speaker would not stay standing up unless propped on its side. Aside from that, it seems to be fairly durable and well-built.
The iShower controls are straightforward, despite being a bit oddly positioned. It’s worth noting that the clock display shown in most photos requires a button press. The display is usually blank, but in addition to being a clock it also provides feedback during device pairing. Unfortunately, iShower does not have a 30-second rewind button or seek controls, so if you often listen to podcasts or audiobooks, this might be a deal-breaker for you.
As a travel speaker, I like the iShower speaker a bit better than the Satechi bluetooth speaker I already had, although the iShower is larger, because it’s louder and can go into more environments. Bummer: it also requires me to carry spare batteries since it is, unfortunately, not rechargeable.
I have gone through one set of my batteries so far in my usage, and though I didn’t track the time I’d guess the 15-hour playing time estimate is pretty accurate. I chose to replace the batteries with Eneloop rechargeable batteries. On the subject of batteries, you will need a coin or similar object to open the battery compartment door; the cover is secured tightly due to the water resistant design, and they chose to use a coin-slotted screw for that.
It’s a shame the iShower isn’t rechargeable. I’d even prefer this at the cost of reduced usage time between charges. I think it could have been done with a sealed port cover, which would be easier to access than the battery door in the back.
I used the iShower with an iPod touch, an iPad, and an iPhone (it works with Android devices, too). Pairing was easy enough. I did have to look at the instructions when pairing initially, and again later when I wanted to remove a pairing and add a new one. Being able to pair iShower with up to five devices makes the pairing a bit more complicated than you might have experienced with other devices, but is a great feature which adds value to the product for multi-gadget households.
Geek in the Forest Verdict: I Like It!
To sum up… pairing was simple, the controls work well, the sound is good enough, and I never experienced interference or drop-outs like I have sometimes with other Bluetooth devices. I’d be more impressed if it was rechargeable, had skip-back and/or seeking controls, and a more modern design. I’d also like to see it priced about 25% lower. I probably would not have sought out this device for myself, but I like it and would recommend it, especially if you have a lifestyle that revolves around water.
You can buy the iShower speaker directly from iDevices for US$99.99.
iShower is a very good device. It gives me everything i need in the shower. My favourite music is always with me.
I have to disagree with you on the wishing it was rechargeable comment. Alot of rechargeable devices lose their capacity to hold a charge over time and you cannot change out the battery. A good example is an Ipod Touch or Iphone. To change a battery in one of those it will cost you $70 at Apple or attempt to do it yourself which could be disastrous! Since this takes AA Batteries that problem will never occur. I recommend a set of rechargeable batteries and you are good to go!
Good point, Gerry. I have been using rechargeable (eneloop) batteries with this, but I am finding time time between charges is much shorter on rechargeable batteries than it was with regular alkalines. Maybe my batteries need reconditioning… I don’t know.
If I was looking for a wireless speaker in my shower, is this the choice? Is there a higher end solution you might consider or recommend ?
Hi Howard, Amazon lists several other Wireless Shower Speakers, but I’m afraid I don’t have personal experience with any others as of yet.
We bought the iShower a few months ago, and love to use it in shower. BUT there is a huge problem with this device, that we for the moment do not understand, and neither people from iDevices apparently…
Each time we had to remove the original batteries which ran out of juice, and replace them with a new set of batteries the device was not working anymore, that means that the iShower would not switch on anymore. We contacted iDevices each times we had this problem, and they just sent us new devices. And that’s now the fourth time ! They said it’s not common problem, but I doubt we would be that unlucky to get 4 iShower that had this same rare problem… Did that happen to somebody else? We would love to understand what’s wrong, especially since iDevice explained the iShower could not be repaid…and we can not just get new iShower each time batteries run out of juice.
Thanks in advance to help us if you had the same kind of problems on that device!
Read more at http://the-gadgeteer.com/2012/09/17/ishower-wireless-water-resistant-speaker-review/#bPx3whZPkD5Dq48t.99
I have never experienced this and have changed batteries on mine many times. I assumed you’ve tried different brands of batteries and made sure you are inserting them correctly?
Yes we tried different brands, inserted them many times correctly (since actually it’s always working when we insert the first set of batteries sent with the new iShowers). iDevices sent us last time some of their sets of batteries to be sure that’s not coming from brands. And we sent a video where we’re seen changing batteries to iDevice in case they would notice something, but really we’re just changing batteries, difficult to get wrong on that… that’s not like it was the first time we had to make this gesture in our life…
Really do not understand what happens! That’s really really strange. Anyway if one reader thinks of something, or has the same problem, we would love to get advice !
Very strange indeed! I hope you solve the mystery. Let me know if you figure it out.
Well, it didn’t happen when changing batteries, but my iShower won’t power on anymore. I had put fresh batteries in it before a trip, then I used it several times during the trip, but not enough to drain the batteries. The next time I went to use it, it would not turn on. I put fresh batteries in, and it still would not turn on, So I got a total of about 7-8 months of occasional use out of the iShower before it died.
We’ve had a similar issue. I bought the device in August of 2012. In January of 2013 it started exhibiting the same behavior – it won’t power on, even with fresh batteries. iDevices was kind enough to replace the unit even though it was outside of its warranty period. But today, the replacement device won’t power on. So, both of my devices have worked for about 4 months and quit. I’ll contact them next week to see if they’ll offer a replacement. But given the limited lifespan of my two units, I think there must be some kind of design flaw. This unit is mounted near the ceiling at the back of the shower. It never gets wet, never gets abused, etc.
We let it go for a while, but we should maybe get in touch with them again. I hope that even if our device(s) are outside of their warranty period, they could do something for us, give us back our money, or at least if it’s a bugg of first genarations of devices, give us a brand new one when they find out what’s not working… It’s been a little expensive to only use it several times, plus calling them from France, hope they’ll understand that they should do a commercial gesture for us. Let me know if you have news!
I heard back from iDevices, and they agreed to replace my failed unit with a refurbished unit – but this time the replacement unit comes with no warranty whatsoever. I fear this third unit will meet the same fate as the first two, but I’m willing to give it a try. I expect my unit to arrive next week or week after. I did inquire (twice) whether they’d identified any design issues with the first generation unit which was causing this problem, but I got only a vague response to the question.
Do not buy this device. Many folks have the same problem. After using for a while (3 – 18 months) the device will no longer turn on and the manufacturer wont help although this is a wide spread problem.
same problem for me they changedit twice and now it wont start again!
no more warranties because I live in canada….