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Altec Lansing inMotion Max - Altec Lansing inMotion Max
On the back are connections for the provided FM antenna, a 3.5mm auxiliary jack and the power input. There's also a small recess for storing the remote control. We weren't particular enamoured with the latter though; its buttons are irritatingly imprecise and lacking in positive feedback. Its actual functions are fairly limited, too. You get basic playback controls (play/pause, volume and next/previous), a 'Source' button and four shortcut buttons for recalling stations and toggling shuffle and repeat, but you can't use it to actually navigate the iPod menus remotely.
Up top, most (not all) of the remote's controls are replicated with touch-sensitive buttons that work much better than those on the remote. Unlike the front-mounted display or the controls on the Logitech Pure-Fi Anytime these aren't backlit on our review sample. Indeed, provided you don't need the mobile battery powered aspect of the inMotion Max, the Logitech is a good alternative. It offers very similar features, including signal shielding, but does so for around £50 less.
Price is a big issue, too, with the inMotion Max retailing at £130 at its cheapest and up to £150 from many, while the Logitech system is around £75 to £80. It's not as if the Altec Lansing system sounds £50 better, either: quite the opposite in fact. While it would be unfair to characterise its output as bad, it rarely - actually, never - surprises with its strength or quality.
As is so often the case with these kinds of products and despite protestations to the contrary, there's very little bass and depth to the inMotion Max. Even light, acoustic music suffers for its lack of dynamism, though at least vocals are produced with reasonable clarity. Naturally the system produces a very narrow soundscape as well; a problem not rectified by the 'ESS' mode that's supposed to widen it to "fill a room with sound". All it really does is flatten the sound to destroy any detail already being produced.
Ultimately, though it does a passable job with varying styles of music, the inMotion Max doesn't reflect the sizeable price it demands. That's fine if all you're after is convenience (and you view that as a premium feature) but for the price we'd like a little more than that.
Sound quality is rarely the prerogative of products like this and the Altec Lansing inMotion Max is no different. However, in light of its performance and its price, it's hard not to be a little disappointed by it. It's a solid option if it does what you want, but it could have been better.
Scores In Detail
- Sound Quality