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Home > Hardware Reviews > Mobiles

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Altec Lansing IM 600

1. Design and Operation, Conclusion

We have seen that iPod docks and Personal All-in-one Speaker Systems for the iPod are so plentiful that they are now just about everywhere. This year, it seems that manufacturers are trying to add new features and make their entry into this crowded field somehow stand out from the competition.

Altec Lansing has been a leader in Audio Systems and Solutions for years. Their iPod docks consistently receive the highest reviews from this site and many others. Now, Altec Lansing brings us the new im600 iPod dock. This little sound system packs in the familiar big sound along with a new Alarm Clock, FM radio and Stereo Field Expander. So, how does it stand up?

CORPORATE OVERVIEW
Altec Lansing Technologies, Inc. has designed and manufactured high-quality consumer and professional speaker systems for more than 75 years. A market leader in digital audio, Altec Lansing makes a wide range of audio systems for the home and office; a line of headsets and headphones for personal listening; and the popular line of inMotion speaker systems for portable digital players. The company’s Professional division manufactures speakers for the fixed installation market.

Altec Lansing always designs its speakers with the diverse needs of the listener in mind. Whether a music lover, gamer, student, parent, musician or professional, Altec Lansing owners can be sure their listening experience was designed with their lifestyle in mind.

Altec Lansing continues to receive top accolades recognizing its high-quality audio systems. Recent recognition includes:
  • The iM7 recognized as the “2005 Best Speaker” by iLounge.
  • The iM4 recognized as the “Best Product of 2005” by PC News Weekly.
  • The XT1 receiving a “10 out of 10” by ThinkComputers.com.
  • The iM7 named “Best Speaker for iPod Owners” and recognized as the best overall speaker over the Bose SoundDock by Sync Magazine.
  • The FX6021 receiving an “Editor’s Choice” award by PC Upgrade.
  • The iM7 recognized as the “Best iPod Accessory” by Computer Shopper.
  • The XT2 and iMT1 recognized with “2006 Innovations Design & Engineering” awards at CES.

About the im600:

This is the "company line" from the Altec Lansing Web site:

The New Standard From The Company That Set The Standard

  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery
    Listen to over 7 hours of continuous play (or use the included AC adapter)

  • Full-function remote

  • Alarm clock
    The iM600 is fully compatible with iPod models that have the alarm clock and sleep timer features.

  • FM radio
    With convenient remote controls and station presets, LCD display, and telescopic antenna.

  • Superior bass enhancement technology
    Quality bass without a subwoofer.

  • SFX Stereo Field Expander
    inMotion’s proprietary signal processing widens the stereophonic image to dramatically expand the audio soundstage.

  • Compact design
    Folds to close at 11“ wide, 1.7“ deep, and 6“ high (283 mm x 43 mm x 152 mm) for convenient mobility.

  • Input jack
    For second device connection, including CD, DVD, and MP3 players.

  • Weighs
    Only 2.1 pounds (0.9 kg).

On to the Review......

Design:

The im600 is a beautiful unit to look at. It is noticeable smaller than previous iPod docks. It is finished in a glossy "Piano Black" with a mesh looking grill over the speakers. At the front of the unit is the Dock for the iPod. Out of the box, the im600 can hold the 5G iPod Video, iPod Nano and iPod Mini - no additional attachments were necessary.

To the left of the docking cradle is the power button and to the right are the volume controls.

On Top of the im600 are buttons that control the Source (iPod, FM Radio, Aux) and the SFX (Stereo Field Expander) function.

The Back has an auxiliary jack - for connecting another source (other MP3 Player, PC, TV) a Sub woofer out jack for attaching the optional Altec Lansing Sub and there is a Composite Out jack so you can play your iPod videos on a TV or VCR setup.

One very nice feature is that the im600 has a built in rechargeable Li-Ion battery which can play up to 7.5 hours on a single charge. This feature really does make this a portable device - perfect for moving outside, going to the beach or wherever.

The im600 also comes with a wireless remote which attaches securely to the back of the device when not in use.

Ease of Use:

The im600, like all Altec Lansing sound accessories I have tested was very intuitive and easy to use. There are very few buttons and they are pretty much self explanatory. It was as simple as plugging in the iPod, choosing the source and playing the music.

Options:

The im600 has a nice feature set. It is marketed as an Alarm clock and if your iPod supports this feature, it is truly an alarm clock. Just plug in the iPod, make sure the power is on and set the alarm on the iPod. Whichever song you chose on the iPod will play at the appropriate time.

The im600 also comes with an FM only radio - again, a nice addition to the feature set. FM sensitivity seemed pretty good - the antenna telescopes out of the back of the device.

The im600 adds Stereo Field Expansion which does give a nice addition to the sound.

Sound Quality:

Altec Lansing has done it again. The im600 sounds much bigger than its little black box would suggest. It is not big sound like the IM7, but it is pretty darn good. Stereo separation was good without the SFX enabled. With SFX, the stereo sound stage was greatly enhanced.

The im600 is not quite as strong in the bass as the IM7 or the IM9 - but I found the bass to be satisfactory. Real bass enthusiasts will want to opt for the optional Altec Lansing Sub woofer that plugs into the Sub-Out jack on the back of the device.

I found vocals and higher frequencies to be very crisp and clear on the im600. This very small device was able to fill a small bedroom completely with great sound.

Over all Conclusions:

The Altec Lansing im600 takes the great sound quality found in other Altec Lansing products and puts it in a smaller, more portable form factor. This is the perfect iPod dock for a small bedroom, office, dorm room or it can be used outside thanks to the re-chargeable Li-Ion battery.

The alarm clock and FM features make for nice listening options in addition to being a very capable iPod sound dock.

Pros:

  • Great size
  • very good sound quality
  • FM radio
  • SFX enhancement

Cons:

  • A little "bass thin"

The Altec Lansing im600 can be found at www.alteclansing.com and other on line retailers for a very reasonable US$149.00.

 




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