Altec Lansing inMotion MAX Portable iPod/iPhone Speaker System Review

This was a first for me….Altec Lansing‘s Docking Audio project manager, Steve Schlangen asked if we could discuss the inMotion MAX (iMT702) prior to my review. I enjoyed our discussion a great deal; we talked about the iMT702’s capabilities, industrial and functional design plus a few words hinting at the future. It was a nice experience talking with a person involved in the creation of a great new tech product. Steve’s pride and excitement about the MAX came through load and clear.

The inMotion MAX is the successor to Altec Lansing’s iM600. Like the iM600, the iMT702 is a portable iPod speaker system with a built-in Li-ion rechargeable battery and integrated FM radio. Altec Lansing has added many features and a great deal of design polish to the MAX. The portable speaker system is compatible with the latest iPods, both generations of iPhones, and most older model iPods plus any analog line-in source as well.

Altec Lansing teamed with the industrial design folks at Plantronics (the creators of the very stylish Discovery 925) to improve the look and feel of their top portable iPod speakers. They have succeeded. The high gloss plastic, brushed aluminum ends, touch-sensitive backlit buttons, highlights around the speakers….all in a well made, compact, portable package that looks really good.

Package Contents

  • inMotion Max (iMT702) speaker system
  • Infrared remote
  • FM radio antenna
  • Power adapter
  • Miscellaneous (5) adapters for iPhone and iPod
  • User guide
  • Quick Connect Instructions

Hardware Specifications

Speakers Two 2” (50 mm) full-range drivers and
two 2” (50 mm) passive radiators
Battery Li-ion (3.5 hrs of playback)
Connector Type Standard iPod interface
Dimensions (WxDxH in) 12.2 x 2 x 7.6
Weight (lbs) 2.9
Power Consumption (W) 16
Warranty One year (two if you register the device)

Features

  • Crystal-clear sound/powerful bass/Expanded Sound Stage (ESS)
  • Internal battery
  • Built in FM radio
  • Displays song and FM station data (RDS)
  • LCD display
  • Enhanced remote
  • Music pause
  • Well shielded against iPhone inter fence
  • Alarm clock function
  • Lightweight, compact and portable
  • Auxiliary input
  • Remote cubby hole (aka storage location for the remote)

The front face of the inMotion MAX has a spring loaded universal iPod dock that retracts into the bottom (when not in use and during transportation) and a high-gloss black plastic strip that spans the top of the device. At the center of this strip is a 1.75-inch backlit LCD display. The four 2-inch speakers are also located on the front of the system; two of the speakers are powered, the other two help to passively radiate sound.

The back of the inMotion Max includes a compartment for the infrared remote, as well as a plastic door/foot that works as a foldout stand.

Beneath the foldout stand are the aux input, power adapter socket, and FM antenna connector. All of which are hidden behind the foldout stand when not in use. The speaker system is disabled when the foot/stand is up, assumedly to keep the device from accidentally being turned on in transit.

The top of the inMotion Max features illuminated buttons that are touch sensitive versus basic mechanical ones found on many other portable speaker systems. The orange backlit buttons are easy to see in any lighting. The buttons control the power, audio source, volume, skip, and ESS (Expanded Sound Stage) sound enhancement. The inMotion MAX gives visual feedback via its LCD screen when each button is pushed which is good because getting the buttons to respond accurately took a bit of getting use to.

I live pretty far out of town but radio reception is very good with the external antenna plugged in. The Radio Data System (RDS) did not work on any of the FM stations I tried. The song titles and artists did display on the LCD while playing music from the iPod.

The iMT702 presents itself very well everywhere in the house that I tried the system. Its small footprint and relatively small size fits well in the typical room around the home. Along with its high-tech look, the inMotion MAX is very tech-smart as well. Many of the iMT702’s abilities are listed in the features section above. The ones I found most noteworthy are its smart charging system (only charging the iPod when plugged into DC power), alarm clock function and ability to display song/station data while playing music. Plus the speaker system is very well-shielded. There was little to no cellphone interference when I tried it with my wife’s 3G iPhone. The music is muted during an incoming call and replaced by a ringtone. When the call ended, the music started up where it had left off.

Sound Quality

At low to moderately loud volume levels, the sound quality of the inMotion MAX is very good. Past a certain volume, the louder you make the device the more distortion there is. It sounded great in my living room, bedroom, and office….filling each with a quality sound experience. However, it did not fill the larger void of my garage (or produce as rich of a sound outside) as well as the iM9. I will not be using it out there anyhow, its much too dangerous for such a great looking device.

If you are looking for a portable iPod system with pounding bass, you will need to look elsewhere. The iMT702 has great sound and is very enjoyable to listen to. However, with its two inches of depth, it will never shake the popcorn off your ceiling drywall. I would also add that it would have been nice if Altec Lansing included some sort of pouch/case to protect it while traveling.

Altec Lansing’s inMotion MAX has great form, function, and build quality. Considering its sound quality, capabilities and looks, the iMT702 gives you good bang for your buck. If you are in the market for a great looking, portable iPod speaker system, I recommend you give the MAX consideration.

 

Product Information

Price:199.99
Manufacturer:Altec Lansing
Requirements:
  • Apple iPod or iPhone
Pros:
  • Quality construction and materials
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Great look and size
  • Extremely portable
  • Nice infrared remote (storable on the speaker system itself)
  • Well shielded again iPhone (cellular) inter fence
  • Alarm clock functionality
  • Mute function during incoming calls
  • Two year warranty (if you register)
Cons:
  • Definite sound distortion at higher volumes
  • RDS did not function
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear, iPhone, iPad, iPod

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