So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Altec Lansing iM4
- Portability, Decent sound quality
- Distortion at highest volume
The iM4 delivers above average sound quality for a set of portable speakers.
Price$ 169.95 (AUD)
The iM4 is an all around performer in the portable speaker space. It can be used with most portable audio devices, and combines portability and a simple design with surprisingly well balanced sound.
Slightly larger when compared to some portable products we have tested, measuring 261mm x 134mm x 26mm, the iM4 utilises a simple yet effective design. The speakers slide out from the centre unit and can rotate to a full 180 degrees; although this range of motion is hardly necessary as you would never want them pointed directly at the ceiling.
The iM4 is predominantly plastic, with a rubber surface on the top of the unit to rest your audio device on. An inbuilt retracting cable is then used to connect it to the speakers. In the box you'll find an additional longer input cable ideal for a laptop connection as well as four power adaptors for use in different parts of the world.
On the whole we were quiet satisfied with the sound quality of the iM4. Where portable speakers are notorious for emitting unfulfilling bass and emphasising the higher frequencies, the iM4 was surprisingly well balanced. Although the bass was not wonderful, instruments in the lower frequencies were quite clear and had enough presence and power to be felt during our listening sessions.
However, some distortion was present when we pushed it to the highest volume, leading to a deteriorating clarity in the upper registers. Overall the iM4 produced a well balanced sound, which is impressive for a portable speaker system of its size and price.
Combining an analogue power button and volume slider the design may not be the most innovative around, but the iM4's simplicity, portability, and good sound quality make this an attractive package.
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