Altec Lansing iM600 iPod sound system 

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The Altec Lansing iM600 joins a growing list of systems that form part of the 'iPod economy' - the industry that has grown up around the worlds favourite media player.

Altec Lansing InMotion 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.

iPod integration

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!

Altec Lansing iM600 wireless remote control

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

FM Radio

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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What our readers said!


Comment by Peter, Jan 5, 2010 15:52

i was wondering whether the alarm settings allow you to wake up to your selected ipod song or radio. it is no widely stated on any website. thanks.

Comment by Snapdragon, June 16, 2009 1:05

Dissapointed with Altec Lansing in that the unit after 5 months is unlevel and will not play unless put cardboard under it so it can lean forward. Did not drop unit or damage - it just happened one day.   The player also does not like to be near other electronics equipment and will not play when fluorescent lighting is on.  It has some very weird hangups but the sound is great if the unit would only be consistent.  We are not the first to have the UN-LEVEL problem and those attempting to get a fix do not have the problems resolved.

Comment by Lee, Dec 16, 2008 17:53

I just received the im600 as a gift and must say the sound quality is second to none for such a small unit.

When i connect up my i-phone it does say it is not compatible but has no problems playin my songs, it just doesnt charge the phone whilst in the dock.

Must say, one excellent piece of kit for the money and size, cant wait to take it away with me


Comment by peter, Jul 10, 2008 18:58

hi, have a ipod clasic and a im600, have had no promblems and the sound is v.good for a low cost unit. also use a nano with an adapter which also works fine

Comment by Mark Renucci, Jul 7, 2008 17:55

Bought IM600. Loved it BUT... It broke after 6 mths without being abused. All buttons stopped working. Replaced under warranty. Replacement unit worked for 2 months now fails to power up. Dock only works if you place object behind the ipod. I hope they can improve their engineering because I would love this product if it was more reliable.


Comment by bclark614, June 29, 2008 8:11

I recently purchased an im600 and 80Gb Classic ipod but the latter does not seem to be compatible, in that, it does not sit comfortably in the im600 seat with any of the three adaptors supplied.  It connects so you can see the content, but will only convey the sound if a support is placed behind the ipod. The staff at John Lewis considered these items compatible.  Does anyone know if there is a new adaptor for the 80Gb Classic?

Comment by petew, Jan 20, 2008 18:42

Noticed today that John Lewis are claiming the im600 has video out (both in their shop and on-line).

It does *not*. This claim was also erroneously made on one of the Altec Lansing web-sites for a while, which may well be where John Lewis got the information.

If you want video out - this is not the product for you - take a look instead at the iM7, which does support video but isn't as portable as the im600.


Comment by Enkay, Nov 16, 2007 21:27

FM radio is waste of time - cant pick up most of the station my car audio does. The voice quality is really nice. IPOD Dock is a mess....overall my suggestion dont waste time on thinking about buying this item.  

Comment by petew, Oct 8, 2007 8:37

Hi Pfeiffer,
The new iPods were released as I was doing the review of this product so I did ask the question about support. The answer I got was that yes, the new iPods will work. At the time I didn't have access to one of the new versions so couldn't try it myself though. I was told that new adapters would be available by the end of the year that will make the new iPods sit more ocmfortably in the im600, but that was more for aesthetic reasons!

All the best

Comment by ian pfeiffer, Oct 5, 2007 15:35

Are the Altec Lansing im600 speakers combatiblewith the 3rd generation ipods using the docking adaptoir that came with the ipod?

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