- Dual 2in drivers
- Magnetised remote cubby hole
- On-body playback controls
- 7-hour battery life
- Retractable iOS dock
Altec Lansing’s latest affordable iPhone dock is one of its most versatile units ever. The iMT630 has a built-in battery, a pop-out dock socket, and even smuggles a remote within its body. We got a closer hands-on look at IFA 2011 in Berlin to find out if it’s all frills and no substance.
We’ve reviewed a few battery-powered docks of late. The Sony idl650M and Philips Fidelio DS7700 were both handy devices, but didn’t quite convince us the sound compromises of their portable form factor were worth it.
Altec Lansing’s new iMT630 makes a pretty good case for itself on the features front. Like the Sony model, it offers an iOS dock socket that pops in and out of the body with a press, and also offers a built-in rechargeable battery. Altec Lansing claims it’ll last for up to seven hours.
On top of these basic portability features, the iMT630 dock also offers a remote control. But it’s not an external extra. It slots into a cavity revealed when you flip out its stand, on the back. The remote’s a basic affair, but doesn’t simply fall out when exposed. Its cubby hole is magnetised, so if you don’t need the remote you can simply leave it in there. Genius.
Aside from these portability skills though, the iMT630 is dead simple. There’s no Bluetooth streaming or Airplay just a 3.5mm aux input and the front iOS socket.
On top of the unit are a few playback buttons, but there’s no on-body EQ control. There will, however, be an iOS app you can download to give you access to a full 7-band equaliser – as seen in some of Altec Lansing’s previous docks. So far, so good. But as yet, we don’t know quite how much this new dock will cost. If it can undercut its Sony and Logitech rivals, it could be onto an easy win. But how does it sound?
The showfloor at IFA is no place to test out audio products, unless they’re noise-cancelling headphones, so we’re treating our observations of the Altec Lansing iMT630 as the earliest of preliminary impressions. We did, however, get to hear it blast its heart out at full volume, until we were told we were disturbing a nearby film crew.
For a device powered by a pair of teeny 2in drivers, the Altec Lansing iMT630 can trample over noisy environments well. Its sound appeared to be bassy and warm, without having the over-ripe bottom end that some iPhone speakers have. Sometimes not having a subwoofer can be a bonus.
However, we do suspect that the dock lacks the dynamics and treble insight to give it that satisfying high-end sound. It’s something we heard in the Sony iDL650M, and is typical of speakers that have to rely on the output of pretty tiny drivers. Hey ho, portable speakers are never without a compromise or two.
There’s plenty to like about the Altec Lansing iMT630, though. The design is well-suited to use as a portable speaker and that remote cubby hole is a stroke of genius – if arguably a bit of an unnecessary extra. We hardly use dock remotes even in home units. We’ll be back with our full impressions on the iMT630’s sound quality and design in our review.
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