Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade

Altec Lansing's latest inMotion speaker system designed for Bluetooth mobile phones.

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Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade
  • Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade
  • Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade
  • Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Design, build quality, doubles as a speakerphone, line-in jack

Cons

  • Needs six batteries to run, can't connect wired and Bluetooth devices simultaneously, no way to turn off Trubass, no equaliser options

Bottom Line

It doesn't offer outstanding sound quality, but the design and functionality of the Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade make it a decent choice if you're looking for a wireless speaker system.

Would you buy this?

A razor-thin speaker system designed for use with A2DP-enabled mobile phones, Altec Lansing's inMotion SoundBlade is attractive, portable and convenient. Its sound quality definitely won't blow you away and the price is a little steep, but as long as you are aware of its limitations it is a handy device.

Altec Lansing has had a good reputation when it comes to the sound quality of its products, but it’s the design of the inMotion SoundBlade that is most impressive this time around. It is one of the smallest and most compact speaker docks we've reviewed. Along with its size, the glossy black finish also attracts attention.

The controls on the top of the inMotion SoundBlade (play, pause, forward, reverse, volume controls and a call-handling button) require a firm press to activate, but the system feels sturdy and well built; the pop-out stand on the rear is a nice touch.

The Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade supports A2DP (stereo), AVCRP (remote control), and speakerphone Bluetooth profiles. This means your mobile phone or other paired Bluetooth device can act as the unit's remote control — this is just as well, as the SoundBlade doesn't come with its own remote control. Thankfully, the unit can also be used with non-A2DP Bluetooth devices (such as the Apple's iPhone 3G) by way of an auxiliary input jack at the rear of the unit. Altec Lansing includes a line-in cable in the sales package. Unfortunately, if you use the auxiliary jack, none of the Bluetooth functions are available. For example, you can't use the unit as a hands-free speakerphone while your iPod is plugged in.

The Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade's built-in microphone lets it act as a hands-free speakerphone. The microphone works well from several metres away and during testing our callers didn't have any issues with the quality outgoing audio. The shielded design prevents speaker buzz that you sometimes encounter when using a mobile phone next to other electronic devices.

Sound quality via Bluetooth is actually slightly more impressive than when using the auxiliary jack. There is an annoying underlying hissing sound and the unit does distort at higher volume levels, but the SoundBlade produces reasonable quality when used at an appropriate volume. It obviously won't impress audiophiles — instrumental separation is poor, bass and mid-range are lacking and the sound does tend to feel quite muddy, especially during complex riffs — but these are limitations of most portable audio systems, not problems unique to this unit.

Our main complaint lies with the SRS Trubass technology — there is no way to turn it off. Altec Lansing claims the presence of this function delivers "a powerful, immersive experience with the perception of deep, rich bass", but we aren't inclined to agree. The lack of any equalisation settings is also a downside, with not even basic treble or bass adjustment available.

The Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade can be powered by the included AC adapter or six regular alkaline AAA batteries. Altec Lansing promises up to 24 hours of continuous operation before the batteries require changing.

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