If you’ve got an iPod mini, most of the separate speaker sets geared towards the fourth generation model should work with the addition of a slightly different moulded docking clip included in the box.
Understanding this might be the case, Altec Lansing has released a speaker system dedicated to the iPod mini based on its iM3 unit (reviewed here) for the fourth generation and iPod mini speakers.
The iM3 mini is 40 per cent smaller and 30 percent lighter than its brother weighting 10 ounces and measuring 7in W x 4.4in H x 1in D compared to 8in W x 5.5in H x 1.1in D, 15 ounces and this reduction in size is certainly more in keeping with the iPod mini shape and styling.
Just as in the iM3’s 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.
The styling is very similar with the iM3 mini’s dock putting out of a flat unit. Like wise a stand pulls out the back to give it support, but rather than use the same mechanism as found in the iM3, which was very sturdy, the size has meant a rethink for the worst. The front docking stand is somewhat difficult to get out and the back is likely to be snapped after a couple of weeks of good use.
But its not the only place where it seems shortcuts have been made to achieve that mini feel and look. The other noticeable difference it the lack of a remote control. It’s certainly a nice addition to Altec Lansing iM3 set and perhaps we noticed it more because we tested the two units very close together. Either way we want the remote back. The other noticeable omission is the snug travel case included with the iM3.
When it comes to sound performance there is little in it. The iM3 mini offers four custom-designed neodymium Micro Drivers (2 x 25mm and 2 x 18mm) with only slightly less bass than the iM3 set.
Like the iM3, the unit lacks a subwoofer, however Altec Lansing say they combat this with a “revolutionary MaxxBass technology”. It’s a shame to hear a veteran quality speaker manufacturer trot out the kind of labels you expect to see in Dixons. 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 payoff is the size and weight - the iM3 mini is considerably lighter than the iM3’s and some of the other speaker sets available.
If you really must have a speaker system that fits in with your iPod mini then the Altec Lansing offers a good proposal. We would suggest though that while the iM3's will dwarf the mini, what they offer is superior to this one. We want the remote, the better sound, and that snug travel case. For the £30 extra our advice would be to upgrade to the bigger set.