SDI Technologies adds to its line of iPod-compatible clock audio systems with the iH27, a model designed for travel that's powered by an included power supply or 4 optional AA batteries. Notice how we said "clock audio system" not "clock radio." That's because--unlike most other iHome models--the iH27 isn't equipped with an AM/FM radio; it simply plays back what's on your iPod through its stereo speakers and has a built-in clock with alarm functionality.
Weighing 2.3 lbs., the iH27 is lighter and smaller that the iH9, iHome's more full-featured iPod clock radio. (And unlike that model, it's currently only available in black.) That said, it's still fairly substantial for a portable system. However, what makes it more suitcase-friendly is its ability to fold flat (an inexpensive padded carrying case is included). Once you get to your destination you can then unpack it and fold the system up so the speaker sits upright. It's a pretty nifty design, but we would have preferred if had been shrunk down somewhat. Also, the shiny black plastic tends to be a fingerprint magnet.
There are a couple of benefits to the system being beefier than your typical tiny, portable iPod speaker system. First, while the iH27--which carries a retail price of $100, but can be had for $80 online--is designed for travel, it can do double duty in your home as well. It also sounds a bit better than some of the small mobile speakers out there, though not surprisingly, it doesn't deliver full, rich sound (read: it suffers from thin bass).
The product ships with "sleeves" or dock adapters that make all older dockable iPods fit snugly and securely in the cradle. When your iPod is in the dock and the iH27 is plugged in, your iPod (with the exception of the third-gen iPod) will draw power from the system and recharge. You choose songs, playlists, or podcasts with the iPod's scroll wheel as usual, but hear the audio through the iH27's speakers.
We also appreciate the line-in connection on the back of the unit, which allows you to connect other portable audio devices, including iPod models that aren't dockable. An AV line-out connection allows you to send iPod video (cable not included) to a TV. It is worth mentioning, however, that the iH27's speakers aren't shielded, so you can't set the unit right next to a tube TV without risking scrambling the picture. Likewise, the instructions clearly predate the latest fall 2007 iPod line, so there's no indication of whether the iH27 can properly output video from the iPod Classic, fat Nano, iPod Touch, or iPhone.