Altec Lansing iM310

A portable travel solution.

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Altec Lansing iM310
  • Altec Lansing iM310
  • Altec Lansing iM310
  • Altec Lansing iM310

Pros

  • Folding design, AC or battery operated, charges while playing, auxiliary input

Cons

  • No included line-in cable, no remote control, no bass/treble adjustment, distortion at high volume levels

Bottom Line

The iM310 is a fair travel solution, but don’t expect brilliant sound quality. At this price it's pretty decent value.

Would you buy this?

Altec Lansing is one of the more prominent iPod speaker dock manufacturers and it offers a wide range of music solutions. Its iM310 is a capable portable speaker system that performs to expectations, but don’t expect brilliant sound quality.

Aesthetically, the iM310 is a similar shape and size to many competing units. The matte black colour scheme and silver speaker grills provides a nice contrast, while chrome buttons attempt to add a touch of class. Conveniently, the iM310’s dock connector folds away neatly when not in use, making this an ideal travel system. Further enhancing its appeal as a travel unit is its ability to run off batteries; three AA sized batteries are located in a concealed compartment on the rear of the device. Altec Lansing claims up to 48 hours of continuous music playback is achievable using standard alkaline batteries.

Also on the rear of the system is a small storage compartment. We’re not sure exactly what you’ll fit in here, but it should be large enough to carry a set of portable headphones, as one example.

The iM310 is compatible with all iPods that utilise the standard dock connection, so it will work with every iPod except the iPod shuffle (Updated 2nd Generation) range. The iPhone 3G and iPhone aren’t included in the list of compatible models on the sales packing, but we tested both with no issues. If you don’t own an iPod the iM310 may still appeal to you. An auxiliary input at the rear of the unit means any device that utilises a standard 3.5mm headphone jack can be used with the system. Unfortunately, there’s no line-in cable included in the box.

Set up is as simple as connecting the AC adapter then docking your iPod. Operation is effortless. There is a power button for turning the unit on and off, as well as a volume slider. The latter is not well implemented, though, as it doesn’t feel smooth when sliding. This is especially annoying when trying to raise or lower the volume just a touch.

Sound quality is fair, but far from earth shattering. The sales package points to “surprisingly deep bass”, but we can’t agree with this assessment. Bass is lacking, especially at high volume levels, and the lack of basic bass and treble controls is another downside. The sound overall is tinny and lacking in depth, and is particularly harsh and muddy at high volume levels. With volume at about 75 per cent the iM310 should be loud enough to fill a small room; we wouldn’t recommend pushing it any higher as the loss in quality is almost unbearable.

Unfortunately, the unit doesn’t include a remote control, so you’ll need to use your iPod to change tracks.

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