The iPod mini is a great portable MP3 player, but what about those times when you don’t want to listen to music through earphones, what if you want to play music for your guests, or listen to music in your hotel room?
One solution is the Altec Lansing inMotion powered portable speaker system: essentially a little white shiny plastic box that opens up to reveal two pairs of speakers and a dock for the iPod and iPod mini.
Altec Lansing sent us an inMotion speaker system and we tested it out for a few weeks in our apartment, on a business trip to the west coast, and on our recent Hurricane Ivan delayed vacation to Mexico.
Did we like the inMotion? keep reading to find out……
The Altec Lansing inMotion speaker system comes in a box that shows exactly what you get. The packaging also makes it clear that the inMotion now comes with an iPod mini adapter (previously you had to get one sent to you for free (plus $3 shipping & handling).
Everything inside is well packaged. You get the inMotion speaker system, a number of adapters for different iPod models, an AC adapter, instructions, and a black cloth bag to protect the inMotion when you are traveling with it.
One you take the inMotion speakers out of the protective plastic packaging you can see how clean and simple it looks.
On the top of the inMotion there are just 3 buttons: volume up and down, and the power switch. Next to the power switch is a green power LED.
Also on the top is the connector when you place the iPod. The connector is designed in a way that allows the use of an adapter specific to your model of iPod to hold it securely in place.
The bottom of the inMotion is equally clean and clear of clutter: two doors over the battery slots (4 AA batteries required), and 3 thin black rubber feet.
The rear of the inMotion has 4 connectors, an iPod connector (same as on the bottom of the iPod) for connecting to a sync cable, an aux input for old iPods and other music inputs (such as a portable CD player), an AC power input, and a headphone output (which seems a little obsolete to me).
The inMotion opens up to reveal the 4 speaks and another little bit of black runner that cushions the iPod while it is docked.
Here are the full specifications of the Altec Lansing inMotion:
Dimensions: 8″ x 5.4″ x 1.2″
Speakers: 4 1″ full range neodynium micro drivers
Total Power: 4 watts (2 watts/channel)
System Response: 60 Hz to 20 KHz
Signal to Noise: (@ 1 KHz input) > 75 dB
Amplifier: Class D digital amplifier
Battery Life: up to 24 hrs
Using the inMotion:
Getting the inMotion ready to use for the first time is easy: if you want to use battery power open up the two doors in the back and insert 2 AA batteries in each.
Choose the correct adapter for your iPod (this adapter is for the iPod mini).
The adapter has a cover/door that opens and closes to protect the connecter when not in use. The door was a bit flimsy and could have been made better.
To use the inMotion simply push the iPod into the connector, switch on the power, start music on the iPod, and adjust the volume using the up volume button until you get to the desired sound level.
Sound output is better than I expected, there is no tinny sound and the bass is acceptable which is a surprise as there is no subwoofer.
For traveling the inMotion is incredibly useful, on our vacation we spent 5 nights at a resort on the beach in a cabana with no TV, phone, CD player etc. If we wanted to listen to music while stretched out in the hammock all we had to do was switch on the inMotion.
I’m not normally a big fan of his, but that vacation was just right for some Jimmy Buffett to go with margaritas while watching the sunset from the hammocks.
The inMotion is equally useful in our apartment, it’s not loud enough for a big party but for listening to music, having a small dinner party, or having a “Wayne’s World Bohemian Rhapsody” moment it’s just right.
There is a little interference at the highest volumes but anything below that sounds clear and audible.
Most competitors to the inMotion are also made by Altec Lansing:
The inMotion iM3 is an upgraded version of the inMotion with a slightly smaller footprint (8″ x 5.5″ x 1.1″), a less square look, an infrared remote control, and covers over the speakers. It retails for $180 compared to $150 for the inMotion.
The inMotion iMmini is designed specifically for the iPod mini, it is smaller (7″ x 4.4″ x 1″), lighter, and cheaper ($130) than inMotion. We hope to review one of these soon but at first glance it appears to be an even better solution for iPod mini owners.
Another competitor is the recently announced Bose Sounddock. Not many details are available at the motion but I expect the Sounddock to have better sound quality than the inMotion and to have a remote control, but to be bigger, considerably more expensive, and to be less portable.
If you aren’t a major audiophile and want to use your iPod as an acceptable/good quality sound system for the home or while traveling the Altec Lansing inMotion is a great solution.
It is extremely portable, works both from AC power and on batteries, and can recharge your iPod (so no need to ever use your iPod AC adapter again).
The Altec Lansing inMotion has replaced our existing home stereo solution due to it’s simplicity, ease of use, and removal of the need to go get a CD or copy an MP3 to 2 seperate locations.
We recommend this product.
Sound quality better than expected
Offers both AC and battery power
Recharges iPod when on AC power
Cannot use with a case on your iPod
Overall Rating: 9.5/10