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 adorable, its size and solid exterior don'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 Amazon.com, 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.

Pros of The I-Dog Soft Speaker

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. 

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 its 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.

Cons of The I-Dog Soft Speaker

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 don'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 a plush toy just might give it more staying power than its hard-shell cousin.

Closing Thoughts on The I-Dog Soft Speaker

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 to some folks. Kids will likely be the primary audience for this device, although it might be enjoyable for some adults as well.

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