Joining the already gushing torrent of 'made for iPod' products is the Altec Lansing inMotion iM500 portable speakers. Specifically designed for music on the go with the iPod nano, the impressively slim iM500 is the latest in the inMotion series that shouts true portable audio.
Easily mistaken for a slim hardcover book, the iM500's sleek and simple body profile is imbued with a protective mesh. With a petite girth of 17mm, the midnight black iM500 is possibly one of the slimmest iPod speakers around and should set the iPod fan's heart fluttering at first sight. As proof of Altec Lansing's renowned workmanship, a precisely indented rectangular shape can be found on the protective mesh for the tiny MP3 player to snuggle up into when docked.
Found within the mentioned indentation is another cool feature from the iM500; a small discrete rectangular button that releases two spring-loaded panels (feet) to allow the iM500 to rest steadily on tabletops or any other flat surface you'd like to prop your speakers up onto.
Retractable panels not only help maintain the sleek visage of the speakers, but protect and keep dust away from a host of controls that include volume controls, power button, the docking interface, USB input jack, stereo analog-in as well as a power-jack. The 'AAA' battery bay at the back allows for up to eight hours of audio output.
Honestly, due to its ultra-slim profile we didn’t really hope to expect much from the iM500. However, we were pleasantly surprised that this thin audio box was able to deliver crisp and rather loud audio output when fired-up.
Even the lows were properly rendered; however, do not expect the MaxxBass psycho-acoustic technology to generate anything more than minor wafts of light bass for rhythmic tunes.
An additional benefit the iM500 brought about by the MaxxBass technology is the loudness protection it provides for the wafer-thin speakers. MaxxBass technology prevents the speakers from delivering out-of-range frequencies that could result in permanent and irreversible damage to the tweeters. This was immediately evident when volume was upped to maximum with the iM500 holding steady without crackling whatsoever. That being said, the iM500 is quite a capable audio companion for any iPod.
iPod nano users will be happy to learn that the iM500 automatically charges your precious Apple gadget when synchronization is being performed. Quite simply, this is one important feature no manufacturer should overlook, else it would no doubt be considered a cardinal sin by all iPod fans.
Although the speakers did manage to overcome the critical dock and sync hurdle, the iM500 unfortunately does not pack enough clearance between the docking connector and the speakers to properly dock regularly sized iPod.
Although designed in mind as a mobile "home" for pampered iPod nanos, the iM500 is also an elegant space-saving desktop solution with audio performance comparable even to some bulkier entry-level desktop speakers. Ultimately, with its good looks, small desktop footprint as well as decent audio quality, iPod nano fans now have yet another great option with the Altec Lansing iM500.