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View Full Version : Altec Lansing inMotion iM7 – Review and Pics




dcv
Feb 14, 2006, 05:00 PM
My Altec Lansing inMotion iM7 iPod speaker system arrived this morning… I'm chuffed to bits with it, so thought I'd write a little review and share some pics with you, in case anyone else is looking to buy something similar.

I spent some time looking at various iPod speaker systems on Saturday and quickly narrowed it down to two choices: this one and the Bose SoundDock. I don't claim to be an audiophile but the cheaper systems seemed noticeably 'tinny' in comparison. I compared both of these models in the Apple Store, Regent Street and John Lewis, Oxford Street. The Apple Store was pretty loud and buzzing anyway, so I managed to *really* crank the volume up in there for a good test!

I have to say I was initially very impressed with the quality of both systems. I was originally going to buy the Bose because of the name; Altec Lansing isn't quite as big a household name, well not in the UK anyway. I'm really glad I didn't go with the original plan though.

The Bose is certainly smaller and at the moment is being offered with a free carry bag. However, at £249 (UK), the Bose is also £50 dearer than the Altec Lansing offering. Both systems include a remote control, though these weren't available to test in-store.

Sound wise, both systems are very clear at the mid-range and mid-volume. In my opinion the iM7 has far superior bass response and packs more oomph than the SoundDock. Turning up the volume produces some definite distortion on the SoundDock – I found this very disappointing, as I'd only heard great things about Bose previously. The iM7 still sounds amazingly crisp at high volume; and believe me… these things can go LOUD!

Function wise, the iM7 offers a little bit more for less money. The rear of the unit has video outputs (S-video and composite) to allow you to view photos or videos from your iPod on an external display. There's also a headphone jack and an auxiliary input (3.5mm stereo cable is included) should you need to connect up an older model of iPod (without dock connector) or even an iPod shuffle, or other device. I might be wrong but I'm not sure that the SoundDock offers these inputs/outputs.

Design wise, I wasn't too sure when I first saw it as I thought it looked pretty big, but I love the cylindrical shape. A personal preference perhaps, but to me it's more aesthetically pleasing than the SoundDock. I also prefer the look and feel of the slightly raised power & volume buttons located on the top of the iM7, compared to the feel of the volume buttons on the SoundDock, which I actually found more difficult to control.


OK enough of the waffle… let's see some pics!
click on the images to see a larger picture

The box contains the iM7 speaker system, an AC power adapter with several different international plug fittings, wireless remote control, manual, 3.5mm stereo lead and a couple of plastic inserts to resize the cradle for the iPod mini and nano.

http://img106.imageshack.us/img106/7937/01openedbox0gz.th.jpg (http://img106.imageshack.us/my.php?image=01openedbox0gz.jpg)
wow, so many bits!


Here's the rear of the unit, showing the various inputs/outputs…

http://img106.imageshack.us/img106/9871/02rearview4nu.th.jpg (http://img106.imageshack.us/my.php?image=02rearview4nu.jpg)
rear view… check out that booty ;)

Here's a closer look at the rear.
Also notice the carry handle and the little slot beneath it… we'll come back to that…

http://img106.imageshack.us/img106/4695/03rearcloseup6xd.th.jpg (http://img106.imageshack.us/my.php?image=03rearcloseup6xd.jpg)
close-up of all the input/outputs

Side view – what a gorgeous design! Notice how the speakers curve all the way round and there are even speakers in the sides.

http://img332.imageshack.us/img332/3813/04sideview2dq.th.jpg (http://img332.imageshack.us/my.php?image=04sideview2dq.jpg)
view from the side


OK, let's set it up. Here's a close-up of the power adapter with the UK connector plug that just needs to be slotted into place.

http://img332.imageshack.us/img332/1310/05plug1tt.th.jpg (http://img332.imageshack.us/my.php?image=05plug1tt.jpg)
even the plug is clever


Pressing gently on the top-front of the cradle opens it up…

http://img332.imageshack.us/img332/223/06cradle9ki.th.jpg (http://img332.imageshack.us/my.php?image=06cradle9ki.jpg)
cradle open


...continued in next post due to image limitations...



dcv
Feb 14, 2006, 05:01 PM
...continued from previous post...


Now all we need is an iPod…

http://img371.imageshack.us/img371/7439/07readyforipod3id.th.jpg (http://img371.imageshack.us/my.php?image=07readyforipod3id.jpg)
ready to go, now where's me iPod?


The cradle appears to fit my 4G 40GB iPod perfectly!

The Apple Store had a 5G iPod Video inside their display model, so they do fit, but I'm not sure of the dimensions compared to the 4G, so you might have to request a separate 'insert' for it to fit correctly. The box includes two inserts, which look to me as though they are for the mini and nano.

http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/8821/08ipodinside1zy.th.jpg (http://img109.imageshack.us/my.php?image=08ipodinside1zy.jpg)
iPod inside™… all nice and cosy


And let the music play. I think it looks really neat.

http://img371.imageshack.us/img371/7240/09ipodplaying5dw.th.jpg (http://img371.imageshack.us/my.php?image=09ipodplaying5dw.jpg)
and… play!


Here's a close-up of that remote. It's only got basic functions – power, volume +/-, play/pause, prev/next track, but also allows you to adjust the treble and bass. It would be nice to have a 'menu' button to allow you to navigate the iPod more easily, but I'm not sure if any of these speaker systems offer that yet.

I've tried this out sitting 6 metres (about 20 feet) across the room and it still works perfectly.

http://img371.imageshack.us/img371/5140/10remote2fy.th.jpg (http://img371.imageshack.us/my.php?image=10remote2fy.jpg)
awww isn't it cute?

Now in case you're worried about losing that remote, don't be.
Remember that little slot on the back? It's to keep the remote safe. Clever huh? I don't think Bose thought of that :p

http://img371.imageshack.us/img371/8495/11remoteslot5ws.th.jpg (http://img371.imageshack.us/my.php?image=11remoteslot5ws.jpg)
hey, where'd the remote go?


Well that's pretty much it… if you've got this far then thanks for looking.

Overall I'd say this is an excellent piece of kit and in my humble opinion it beats the Bose.

It can also be used on DC power (takes 8 D-cells) so I'm looking forward to taking this out onto my roof terrace in the summer!


Pros:
Sleek design, which encases the iPod in its own little cradle.
Excellent sound-quality, even at high volume.
Remote control included - and a slot to keep it safe.

Cons:
A little large for regular transportation compared to some of the other speaker systems, but still "portable". (A carry bag is available to purchase separately.)


RRP (UK): £199 – available from Apple Store, John Lewis, etc
1 year limited warranty (2 years within EU)

zelmo
Feb 14, 2006, 05:22 PM
That's a very nice system, and a great review. I have the Bose SoundDock, and I love it. The few "wish it could's" I have are all addressed by the IM7. If it had been available when I got the Bose, I probably would have gone for the IM7 myself.
I had an earlier IM system [maybe the IM3?] and it was nowhere near as powerful as either the Bose or the IM7, but it folded flat, ran on 4 AA batteries for almost 20 hours, and would accept any other portable with the headphone input. My Bose is restricted to the docking iPods, but since that's what I have, I'm okay with it.:)

I hope you get years of enjoyment from your new toy.

One question: How easy is it to insert/remove your iPod from that protective sleeve thingie?

redeye be
Feb 14, 2006, 05:25 PM
Now in case you're worried about losing that remote, don't be.
Remember that little slot on the back? It's to keep the remote safe. Clever huh? I don't think Bose thought of that :p
They did ;)
I agree with you on going for the Altec Lansings though.
It can also be battery powered, where the sounddock is mains only.

Have fun annoying your neighbours with your crisp high volume tunes. ;)

dcv
Feb 14, 2006, 05:33 PM
One question: How easy is it to insert/remove your iPod from that protective sleeve thingie?

There isn't a protective sleeve as such... it's just a little cradle that tilts forward and you slide the iPod down into it. It fits really easily, you just have to give it a little push to sit it down onto the actual dock connector.


They did ;)
*Oops*, I didn't realise!

zone5
Feb 19, 2006, 09:05 PM
Ditto as far as quality. Just unpacked and love the sound. Found the cradle has sharp edges on it. At least on mine and scuffed my player. Workaround: just put some electrical tape around the innder margins of the cradle.
On the whole, excellent unit!

Glenn Wolsey
Feb 19, 2006, 09:56 PM
I love these speakers, they are playing at least 4 hours a day from my iPod. I love how it keeps the iPod charged too :)

Great speakers, couldn't live without them.

PlaceofDis
Feb 19, 2006, 10:02 PM
i prefer the look of the Bose, but i know better. Altec Lansing is a great speaker brand, i would choose them any day over Bose.

glad you like 'em.

Applespider
Feb 20, 2006, 03:24 AM
I was given one of the 'do-nut' On-stage iPod speaker sets for Christmas - probably not what I'd have picked myself since on first listen it was a little tinny but then since it's also only for use in the kitchen probably not too bad either.

One thing I did remember later that made a huge difference to 'tinniness'; it might help even with these ones. Turn the equaliser in the iPod on and set it to 'Small Speakers' - massive bass boost, reduction in tinny treble - much better sound.

Piarco
Feb 20, 2006, 10:35 AM
Nice review dietcokevanilla - I was hell bent on getting one and then I decided to get a black 5g - I'm still hoping that Altec release a black model.

Have to say I noticed the difference between the Bose and the iM7. The Bose did give it up at high volumes which I couldn't believe considering the make. Last time i was in the Regent Street store the iM7 was broken from all of the use - the cradle wouldn't click back into place.

I'll have another play tomorrow as I'll be taking my recently deceased Mac mini in to find out why the hell its not working any more!!:(

zap2
Feb 20, 2006, 10:39 AM
i have the Bose, its good(and LOUD) and pretty small(smaller that the iM7 inMotion)
However there are a few thing the Bose had(many of which this seems to have)

dcv
Feb 20, 2006, 10:47 AM
Have to say I noticed the difference between the Bose and the iM7. The Bose did give it up at high volumes which I couldn't believe considering the make. Last time i was in the Regent Street store the iM7 was broken from all of the use - the cradle wouldn't click back into place.


Yes the cradle was broken when I went in, but it seemed to play ok if you held it in place (the trick seemed to be to push it til it's almost but not quite closed!). It is a slight concern that perhaps the cradle might break at some point, but then I'm really careful with my stuff. Now that I've also got a shuffle I'll carry that around and leave the "big" iPod docked inside the iM7, so it'll only get taken out when I need to add tunes to it. I guess the display items take a bit of a beating anyway and also the staff said they had to attach a security device to the back of the iPod, which may have been another factor in breaking the cradle.

arbutus
Oct 13, 2007, 05:49 AM
Just got my im7 but cannot for the life of me get the nano to seat on the plug when i have the cradle adapter in place, it does not allow the base of the nano to line up correctly. Anyone else had this problem?
Bob

Tom B.
Oct 13, 2007, 11:39 AM
Just got my im7 but cannot for the life of me get the nano to seat on the plug when i have the cradle adapter in place, it does not allow the base of the nano to line up correctly. Anyone else had this problem?

I will guess that the adapter you have is for a different generation nano to your own. You should contact them and ask if they make an adapter for your generation of nano.

Malten
Dec 14, 2007, 03:13 PM
I have had the altec lansing inmotion 7 for almost 2 years. It was between that and the bose. I chose the altec because it was cheaper and portable. I am extremely happy with my decision. There has been a few problems but the overall product is excellent for the money. I was told before i bought it that the place where you put the ipod breaks. Mine hasn't broke but it takes a little jiggle to open and close it. I even accidently dropped it from a 2nd story window and it still works like when i first bought it. The plastic screens on the side fell off but doesn't effect it. I've also noticed that the dock for the ipod freezes the ipod a lot so i use audio in and out cables to play my music. The point to this is that it was cheap and can withstand a lot of beating. The strength must be in the round shape. Also the remote and power adapter broke due to me neglecting it, so i called altec and within 3 minutes i was told they would send me a new power adapter and remote free of charge.

cas1812
Mar 31, 2008, 02:13 PM
The Bose did give it up at high volumes which I couldn't believe considering the make.(

I can't believe that! Bose generally makes an awesome product. I'm looking at getting a SoundDock or something similar, portable, that I can take to the beach that will be loud enough to heard from a pretty good distance and still produce awesome sound quality. I listened to the Bose and Harman/Kardon today and the Bose sounds awesome in the store. They didn't have the Altec Lansing there so I wasn't able to compare. What are yalls thought on one that would sound great at really high volumes, like at the beach, pool, etc., and be able to stand up to abuse?

mojohanna
Mar 31, 2008, 03:04 PM
I'll offer up another vote for the im7. I have had one for about 2years now as well and this thing has taken a beating. I had a problem with mine. it quit working. To this day, I don't know why, but I phoned altec lansing and I had a brand new one within days. No questions asked.