Review: The I-Dog Soft Speaker

Plush I-Dog Soft Speaker Provides Music You Can Hug

The I-Dog Soft Speaker. Photo by Jason Hidalgo

While Hasbro's original I-Dog robot is so gosh-darned adorable, its size and solid exterior doesn't exactly allow you to smother the thing with all your pent-up adoration. Enter the I-Dog Soft Speaker, a decidedly fluffier twist on the I-Dog concept that comes in different colors. While the line hasn't seen any new additions since this review originally published, the I-Dog Soft is still widely available at places like, where you can even get it at a discount compared to its original price.

So what does this soft-bellied doggie have in contrast to its more hard-shelled cousin? Here's a closer look at the cuddly canine.


It's huggable: Unlike the original I-Dog, you don't need to worry about sleeping with this particular item and crushing it into a million doggy pieces. The I-Dog Soft Speaker supersizes the original robot dog while making it fluffy and more hug-friendly. It's about the perfect size to cradle in a child's arms — or even adults' for that matter. (Please don't ask me how I know about the latter. Oh, the things I subject myself to for the sake of a thorough review.)

Multi-tasker: The I-Dog Soft isn't just there for you to hug. Like the original I-Dog, the plush version also doubles as a speaker. This means you can plug an iPod, MP3 player, iPad or any device that outputs sound into the I-Dog Soft and use it as a speaker. You won't exactly get ground-thumping bass with it but it's still a neat feature nonetheless.

It even has a pocket to stow an MP3 player.

Interactivity: Like it's hard-shell cousin, the I-Dog Soft features lights on its face that indicate its varied moods. The dog also interacts via its lights when placed near a speaker.

Affordable: At about $35, you don't have to get a second mortgage to buy this plushy I-Dog.

It's one of the more affordable gift options for kids out there and I've even seen it at $30 in some sites. Do be careful of some online sites and auctioneers as they tend to jack up the price, especially closer to the holidays.


No articulation: Despite some descriptions you may see online about the I-Dog Soft "dancing along" and having his "ears move" to the beat, the plush dog doesn't move like its smaller hard-shell sibling. It basically just reacts via the lights on its face.

Speaker limitations: The plush I-Dog's speakers doesn't like loud volume or a "mega-bass" enabled music source. Either of those two will result in garbled sound, so you'll want to turn the volume down and turn off any extra bass features on your player.

Hard ears: While it was obviously done to preserve the I-Dog look, the hard plastic ears seem out of place for a plush toy. It also can be potentially painful if someone decides to use the dog to whack someone with, like some kids may be apt to do with soft, cuddly plush animals.

Novelty issues: One of the issues with the original I-Dog — or most robot toys, for that matter — is that people can get bored with it once the novelty wears off. The reduction in articulation makes the I-Dog Soft even less novel than the original.

But the fact that it doubles as plush toy just might give it more staying power than it's hard-shell cousin.


Affordability and a useful feature set make the I-Dog Soft Speaker a good toy with gift-giving potential. It doesn't move like its robot sibling, but its plushy nature might actually make it more appealing for some folks. Kids will likely be the primary audience for this device, although I can see it being enjoyable for some adults as well.

Disclosure: A review sample was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

More From Us