Product Re(al)view: Audiovox Homebase Message Center

Product Re(al)view: Audiovox Homebase Message Center

Anthony Nguyen
Jul 7, 2008

It's a digital picture frame. A voice-memo station. A whiteboard. A calendar. The Audiovox Homebase strives to do quite a mouthful in a small little station. Let's see how well the Homebase puts up to our tests, shall we?

Upon unboxing the product itself, we found multiple accessories including 2 types of wall-mounts (one perpendicular to the wall and one at a slight angle), magnets, a post-it pad, a dry erase marker, a DC charger, and wire management supplies (quite thoughtful, we might add). Setting up is a breeze and we were up and running in less than a minute.Recording is pretty easy, too. You simply press the green "memo" button on the left and the recording menu will pop up. We tested audio quality and we were amazed by the quality of the audio coming from the back of the unit. It even picked up some noise from the street, impressive despite having a hidden mic.Playing with the calendar options, we found you can record audio memos to play back on certain days, or dictate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays using icons. We liked how all of the colors matched the unit and everything only took a few steps to complete an action.Now, the setbacks. We love our test unit very much, but we had really wished the menus would pop up a little faster. There is about a second delay after each time we press a button and that certainly puts a damper into our optimal scenario of running out the door and having to leave a message in a hurry. Then again, that's just nitpicking a marvelous 7" screen, a plastic dry erase board that cleans up wonderfully, and crystal clear audio playback. A touch screen instead of physical buttons would have also been nice, but perhaps that's just the Apple iPhone fanboy speaking.Overall, our weekly test for the Audiovox Homebase Audio Message Center was a positive one. The cute white plastic finish matched our Wii nearly perfectly, contributing a fun-filled yet functional, addition to our array of household tech items. Even though we found the menu to be a tad slow, having all these features in addition to a regular digital frame (and priced competitively against frames that cost about 50% more) gives it much higher value in the long run.

Available at Amazon in two flavors: the audio memo version ($99) and the video memo version ($229).

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