You’ve got your iPod and now you want to share the love. We take a look at Altec Lansing’s iPod speaker set, the Altec Lansing In Motion iM3 to see if it matches both the hype and Altec Lansing’s reputation.
This set has been designed for the fourth generation iPod and doubles up as a docking station at the same time. Out of the box, the In Motion speakers are flat and contained - 8in wide, 1.1in deep, and 5.5in high - making this an excellent choice for the user on the road. Altec Lansing obviously considered this market when they designed the set. Included in the box is a handy travel case with a very plush liner. It’s a quality bag and one that should offer enough padding when the set gets crammed at the bottom of the rucksack on those travels.
Out of the bag, the unit pulls apart to revel a stand (see product images) so the unit stands upright. The iPod then plugs into a docking slot on the front between the two 2 watt speakers and like other speaker sets allows you to clearly see the iPod’s screen, as well as still being able to control it. A 20Gb model will fit as standard, but in the box are plastic adapters so other variants of the MP3 player will fit just as snugly.
The front offers an on/off button and as well as two volume buttons. Behind the two speakers is the input/output connection panel. Although four AA batteries can power the speakers for around 24 hours there is also a DC socket (a charger is included in the box), an iPod cable connection (so you can use it as a dock with your PC or Mac) and a further input stereo jack for another device.
Controls are kept to a minimum due to the reliance on the chewing gum sized remote and this offers standard forwards, backwards, play, pause, on/off and volume controls. It, like the speakers, is a gloss white and the whole design happily fits into the whiter than white iPod world.
The unit offers a Class D amplifier that in turn powers four full-range 28mm micro drivers. The inMotion im3 lacks a subwoofer, however Altec Lansing say they combat this with a “revolutionary MaxxBass technology” The results are sceptical and in our opinion the bass, while good, just doesn’t match up to a system with a sub woofer. Of course the pay off is the size and weight - the iM3 is considerably lighter than some of the other speaker sets available.
In tests we found that the sound does depend on the quality of your music recordings on the iPod and finding a balance between the right volume for your iPod and the right volume for your speakers does take a little practice. Get one wrong and the speakers reverberate and you lose the quality, get them right and at louder volumes they still reverberate but not so badly.
These speakers aren’t about getting your songs filling your room and the rest of the building - if it is, then Altec Lansing has sorely missed the point - for us, the set allows you to share your tunes with others in the room, whether it be when travelling or as a replacement to the portable CD player in the kitchen. It’s small, compact and the overall sound that it produces is pretty good. We wouldn’t recommend throwing out your hi-fi separates just yet, but certainly would recommend this as an alterative to the portable CD player in the kitchen.
Complaints? For one, the price for what it will provide. Other than that, only that the remote wasn’t as responsive as we would have liked, involving multiple button presses before it would respond. Finally, a better way of balancing those sound levels between the two devices may have improved the iM3s.