Altec Lansing iM600 iPod sound system
In this case we're reviewing the inMotion iM600, Altec Lansings latest high-end product for your iPod. When you've opened the box and unwrapped the product you're faced with an attractive black slab 283x152x43mm - with no protruding bulges. This is to allow you to take these speakers with you on your travels.
At the press of a button the iM600 springs forward a docking station and a balancing 'foot' backwards providing stability to stand your speakers. The whole effect is of a very well engineered, professional product.
The portable aspect of the product is enhanced by the inclusion of an internal Li-ion battery providing a claimed seven ours of continuous play (something I haven't verified).
The box contains the iM600 itself, mains charger, instruction manual, a wireless remote control and a set of three iPod docking adapters. Before you buy it is of course worth making sure this unit will work with your current iPod, or the iPod you're planning to buy, but there shouldn't be a problem.
While primarily intended to provide sound from your iPod, the iM600 differs from some of it's cousins in offering an FM radio and an 'auxiliary in' to allow connection to a separate sound source.
I'm often a little doubtful about the quality of sound from these smaller portable units. In this case though I was very pleasantly surprised. I've reviewed a number of sound systems recently and can say that the iM600 easily surpasses all the others for sound quality. The sound from twin "neodymium" driven speakers is simply stunning.
For a unit so small the bass performance of the iM600 was excellent.
The sound can be further enhanced by use of the "Stereo Field Expander" - SFX for short which is Altec Lansing's wide-stereo feature. Whether you prefer the sound with this feature on or off is a personal choice.
The iM600 provides the standard iPod docking station centrally located to the front of the device. The documentation claims that the unit is compatible with all dockable iPods, however the system comes with four iPod adapters, where other products I have tested come with as many as eight so you need to ensure that your iPod is supported before buying!
When docked in the iM600 cradle your iPod will be charged. You can also connect it to your computer via a USB connector on the back of the unit. Integration features include the following:
- Use of the iPod alarm clock facility to turn the whole unit into a sophisticated alarm system allowing you to wake to your favourite tones
- Music navigation via both the remote control and via buttons on the upper edge
The integrated FM radio was to my mind the one aspect that let this system down. Reception is via a telescopic aerial that extends from the side of the unit and that can then be bent upward. You can tune either manually of make use of an auto scan.
Tuning wasn't particularly good. The auto-scan failed to detect any channels at all in my area despite a different FM tuner, in the same location, finding many stations. Manual tuning allowed stations to be found, but that was fiddly and time consuming because holding the tune buttons for more than a couple of seconds invokes auto-tune.
Plenty of stations with good signal strength could be found manually so no idea why auto-scan failed to find them.
Up to four stations can be stored for future reference, although they can only be programmed or selected from the remote control.
The radio provides automatic selection between stereo (where the signal is strong enough) and mono. My preference would have definitely been for a manual selection. When listening to talk radio even that slightest background noise is audible.
The quality of sound produced by the iM600 is superb and easily sets itself apart from other similar devices. This was firmly illustrated when I placed it alongside the Sharp i-Elegance product. Good in it's own right, the Sharp was outclassed in sound quality by the Altec Lansing.
The worst feature of the product is the FM radio, but that is adequate if you're only an occasional radio listener, or if you primarily listen to one or two good signal quality stations.
The Altec Lansing iM600 is available from Amazon for £89 including shipping. Given the quality of the sound from this product this is very reasonable :
The Altec Lansing iM600 is available for $109.41 direct from Amazon, including shipping, which given the sound quality makes this a very good sound system for a very reasonable price :
The Altec Lansing iM600 is available for €135,89 direct from Amazon, including shipping, which given the sound quality makes this a very good sound system for a very reasonable price :
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