Review: Altec Lansing inMotion MAX

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I’ve had the inMotion MAX for a few months now and I didn’t open it because I was worried it would be just another iPod dock. I was wrong. The Altec Lansing inMotion MAX is more feature rich, offers comparable if not better sound, and is more compact than other docks I’ve used in the past few years, including my Bose SoundDock Portable.

The inMotion is a completely portable iPod dock with built-in battery and a collapsable front tray and rear foot. It works with
almost every iPod including the iPhone. It supports aux-in devices via a mini-jack and also includes an FM tuner. It costs $200.

Before you attack my earlier comparison, I’m coming at this in the same way the average consumer would with the understanding that there are great iPod docks (like the Tannoy), good ones (like these and the Bose), and bad ones. These are in the mid-range and that’s fine for most folks.

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The dock won’t buzz when your iPhone rings, a problem that plagues most docks. In terms of overall sound I’d say the inMotion is far better than the average iPod dock and on par with the Bose SoundDock. Both docks have a high level of fidelity at high volume and the treble is quite clear. This is not a dock that is designed to go load. Some distortion comes through once you get past a certain point – about 23-25 on the volume reading. It goes up to 40 which is great if you’re hosting a college frat party but not so nice for listening. However, for the kitchen or bedroom, this thing is great.

I didn’t hear a very deep bass with this dock but, then again, I haven’t heard deep bass with any other dock either. The “Expanded Sound Stage” feature adds a bit of depth to the music but audiophiles will probably turn it off.

The battery lasts about eight hours on one charge – I left it on at 8pm and it died at about 6am. The FM radio picks up RDS data and displays it on the amber LCD screen, a cool little perk.

I’ve been using this as my primary music source for the past few weeks and while I haven’t been blown out of the room I’m quite happy with the warmth of the audio and detail in the sound.

Bottom Line: An inexpensive iPhone/iPod dock with great sound and great features.

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