So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Altec Lansing iM300
- Lightweight, durable, decent enough sound quality, charges your iPod
- Speakers struggle to separate varied frequencies, no controls on the dock - awkward using iPod controls, only nano and mini compatible
The portability and durability of this product make it an attractive option if you are content with only ever owning an iPod mini or nano.
Price$ 199.95 (AUD)
The Altec Lansing iM300 is a small, lightweight iPod dock that is quite portable, but won't amaze you with its sound quality. It definitely can't double as a replacement for a home speaker system, but its design makes it perfect to throw into your backpack for a day at the beach. Unfortunately though, the dock section only supports the iPod mini and nano, leaving other devices to be connected via the auxiliary port.
The iM300's design means you can take it anywhere with you and it will surely last the test of time. Measuring 17.8cm x 11.2cm x 2.5cm it is quite small, even for an iPod dock. Its simple, lightweight body houses two speakers with a power and sliding volume button located on top. Included is a sturdy plastic cover which fits over the front of the unit, which, coupled with the closing rear stand means there are no speakers or inputs left exposed. The durability of this product made us want to throw it around the room just for the fun of it.
Flicking a switch on the front reveals an iPod dock, while simultaneously dropping a guard at the rear which doubles as a stand. The stand exposes a DC plug and an auxiliary input for non-Apple MP3 players, as well as a jack to sync your iPod, which is becoming standard on most iPod speakers these days.
While the sound quality was far from impressive, we felt it was adequate for its purpose. From such a small unit, bass response was always going to be an issue, and this was certainly the case here, with a dull, thin lower range that left the music without much impact. The speakers sounded best with mid-range dominant music such as the Foo Fighters and Coldplay, struggling with larger separations of frequencies. Simple high-hats and symbols sounded fine, but became muddled when rhythms starting getting complex. Vocals were the standout, and could be pushed to a decent volume before distorting, especially considering the size of the unit.
Equipped with a DC plug and four different region adaptors, the iM300 can also run off four AA batteries. It is disappointing, however, that the iM300 can not house all iPods - only the mini and nano. If you have another version of iPod you will have to use the auxiliary input and cable provided, and therefore won't be able to make use of the volume control on the speakers.
This is possibly the most portable iPod speaker system we have seen to date. With a retractable stand and dock as well as front cover, this makes the iM300 a very durable, compact and lightweight speaker package. For its size and portability this is a product that you can take anywhere in a flash, and while the sound quality isn't excellent, it should suffice for the occasional impromptu gathering.
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