iPod Accessory Reviews: Speakers
Altec Lansing inMotion imMini iPod Portable
Editor's rating (1-5):
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Reviewed Nov 30, 2005 by Lisa Gade, Editor
Headphones are nice but sometimes you
want music to fill the room, right? Altec Lansing knows that
you purchased an iPod or iPod mini
because you like to keep things small and portable, hence their
inMotion imMini stereo speaker system which is about the size
of a paperback book when closed. Nice.
The imMini is finished in iPod gloss white which may not match
your colorful iPod mini but it does look very nice. Altec Lansing
makes speakers for a variety of iPods, including the similarly
designed inMotion iM3 which works with all iPods including the
nano and full sized models as well as the mini.
The imMini folds flat for transit and comes with
a matching protective cover. Pop the cover off and flip down the
dock and rear pop-out stand to use the speakers as shown above.
Above: the inMotion closed, with cover on ready
The imMini weighs only 10 ounces
and measures 7" x 4.4" x 1" when closed. It's durable and well
made with a clean design that should please style-conscious folks.
The unit has an on/off switch and a volume slider up top and two
battery compartments on the back that hold a total of four AA batteries
for those times you want to listen to tunes away from an AC outlet.
Altec Lansing claims that the until will play tunes for 24 hours
on a set of disposable alkaline AA batteries. When you are near
an outlet, you can plug in the included AC adapter and the inMotion
will both power the speakers and charge your iPod. Not only that,
you can use the inMotion as a docking station by plugging your
iPod's cable into the imMini.
Small speakers don't often give big or great sound.
Get ready to make concessions if you're an audiophile in need of super-portable
sound. The good news is that this Altec Lansing rig sounds remarkably
good for its size. It won't beat the Bose
SoundDock or Altec Lansing's
own inMotion iM7, but those are at least three times the size, many pounds
heavier and much pricier. The imMini beats most consumer electronics
and computer-oriented ultra-compact self-powered stereo speakers we've
tried (and that's a lot) for sound quality. The unit provides decent
bass thanks to Altec Lansing's MaxxBass® technology (no,
it won't shake your chair but you can hear the lows in classical pieces
and the bass drum in rock) and clear mid to treble tones at comfortable
listening levels. Music sounds good and these speakers knock the socks
off of $50 portable speaker sets while fitting in your bag much more
neatly and easily when travel time comes.
The unit uses four custom designed neodymium
Micro Drivers: a 25mm and 18mm on each side and a class D that provide
this aural pleasure. Do they get loud? Surprisingly loud for something
so small. They're loud enough to fill a room with music, drowning
out a few chatty folks nearby in the process. Sound distortion
is tolerable until you crank it above 80% at which point you'll
hear break up but the speakers don't make that scary "I'm
about to blow" sound.