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iPod Accessory Reviews: Speakers

Altec Lansing inMotion imMini iPod Portable Stereo Speakers

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Reviewed Nov 30, 2005 by Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief

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.

Altec Lansing inMotion iPod speakers

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.

inMotion speakers for iPod

Above: the inMotion closed, with cover on ready for transit.

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.

Sounds good?

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.



Deals and Shopping






If you're looking for portable stereo speakers that are great when traveling on the road and sound good enough to use at your desk, strongly consider this compact and attractive package. It looks great, sounds surprisingly good for its size and doubles as a docking station and charger for your iPod.

Price: $129 for the inMotion imMini, $179 for the inMotion iM3 which fits all iPods

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Comparison Shopping: Where to Buy


Also check out deals for the inMotion iM3 for all iPods except Shuffle:




Speaker drivers: Four custom-designed neodymium Micro Drivers (2 x 25mm and 2 x 18mm).

Bass assist: MaxxBass® technology to enhance bass without subwoofer.

Power: Comes with a charger that powers speakers and charges iPod. You can use four AA batteries when not near AC. Power saving will shut down speakers when not in use.

Functions as docking station too? : Yes.

Inputs: iPod dock connector. Auxiliary 3.5mm stereo in jack on back for other audio players with line out.

Size: 7" x 4.4" x 1". Weight: 10 ounces.



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