Altec Lansing iM9

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Altec Lansing iM9
  • Altec Lansing iM9
  • Altec Lansing iM9
  • Altec Lansing iM9

Pros

  • Ideal for those on the move, Runs off batteries, Aux Input

Cons

  • Sound quality, Buttons difficult to press without some force, No remote control included, Heavy

Bottom Line

The sound quality isn’t the greatest, but if you want a system to carry your music around then the included backpack and unique rubberised case may be of some interest.

Would you buy this?

Altec Lansing is one of the leaders in portable speaker systems, particularly for the iPod. Generally they are fairly well positioned in the market, so we have pretty high expectations of any of their products. In the iM9, they claim to have produced a system ideal for users with on-the-go lifestyles, but the lack of a remote control and a seemingly drop in sound quality from previous models leaves us questioning this unit.

The iM9 looks nothing like a speaker system. Its hard black enclosure, complete with rubberized black finish around the outskirts looks more like a school child's lunchbox. When you factor in the included backpack carry case, it is quite clear this system has been designed for people on the move. Unfortunately, this means the iM9 isn't really aesthetically pleasing. Of course, this is quite a subjective matter, but in our books a big, chunky black rubber case isn't the greatest design one could hope for. Still, a flip out stand at the rear of the unit complete with rubber cover for the inputs ensures this has been designed with convenience in mind.

The first issue we had with the design was the controls.Tthere aren't that many; in fact only a power button, Eject button and Volume Up/Down are present at the top of the unit, the latter in particular being difficult to press. Due to the rubber finish, we found ourselves really using more force than should be necessary to use these controls, which isn't ideal at all. This brings us to our next point. There is no remote control. Yes, you read it correctly; Altec Lansing has failed to include a remote control on this $350 system. We were puzzled, surprised, perplexed and most of all annoyed. Why they would fail to include such an important device, especially on a system in this price bracket is questionable.

The iM9 works with the iPod Video, nano, miniand all older iPods with a dock connector. The iPod fits into the iM9 similar to a cassette tape - pressing the eject button opens the slot for your iPod to connect to the unit, then you simply push it closed. Altec Lansing has included inserts to slot into the ejectable dock - so this means even the smaller nano will fit perfectly and look the part as well.

In terms of sound quality, we weren't overly impressed. It's good enough for a picnic at the park, but if you plan to leave this system in your house and use it as a second stereo then we'd advise to look elsewhere. If you purchase the iM9, it should be for the portability factor, rather than the sound quality it produces. In particular the bass is somewhat droning, creating a timid and drowned out noise to your music. The 1-inch tweeters aren't very crisp or clear either, so audiophiles definitely need not apply. Altec Lansing claims the use of MaxxBass technology and while the bass isn't too shabby, it is nothing to write home about either.

Rounding out the package is an Auxiliary port which allows users to plug in other audio devices, such as MP3 players, a composite input and a headphone jack. A dock connector port on the rear of the device means that the iM9 can be used as a dock to sync and charge your iPod. And if you don't have access to power, the iM9 is also able to run off four (4) C size batteries - further enhancing its appeal for those who would like to take their music with them during their travels.

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