A new breed of portable speakers sound a lot better than the tinny models you might remember from the Walkman days.
10. Altec Lansing inMotion Max
Rating: 3.5 stars
The good: The inMotion Max is a portable iPod or iPhone speaker system that flaunts an industrial design and includes a rechargeable battery, remote control, auxiliary input, and an FM radio with RDS support.
The bad: The sound of the inMotion Max lacks for low end and doesn't include features such as Bluetooth, USB pass through, AM radio, video output, or subwoofer output.
The bottom line: The inMotion Max isn't the smallest, loudest, or most advanced portable iPod speaker we've seen, but it strikes a satisfying middle ground at a fair price.
The good: Relatively compact and portable iPod speaker with a detachable replaceable lithium ion rechargeable battery that powers the speaker and iPod; includes auxiliary input and remote control; 30-day risk-free trial.
The bad: Expensive; no bass/treble controls; no clock or AM/FM radio; only 3 hours of battery life at full volume.
The bottom line: The Bose SoundDock Portable is a really good iPod speaker, but it should cost less than $400.
The good: The Harman/Kardon Go + Play iPod boom box offers full, deep sound, along with an eye-catching design, RF remote control, video output, USB output, and aux input.
The bad: The Go + Play isn't yet compatible with the iPhone or many recent models of iPods, the power adapter is bulky, the dock is awkward, there's no EQ, no radio, and the design isn't for everyone.
The bottom line: The Harman/Kardon Go + Play is one of the best-sounding portable iPod speaker systems you can buy, but its high price and lack of compatibility with recent iPod models make it a limited recommendation.
The good: The Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere offers an understated, travel-friendly design that's compatible with both iPods and other MP3 players (via auxiliary line-in). The speaker sounds great; has a built-in, rechargeable battery; and comes with a travel case and an innovative wall charger. The included remote lets you navigate the iPod's menus.
The bad: The remote's range isn't very good, and the Pure-Fi Anywhere isn't as compact as many portable speaker options.
The bottom line: It may not be the most compact portable speaker on the block, but the Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere offers useful extras and great sound for an affordable price.
The good: The Logitech Pure-Fi Mobile speaker offers a sleek, versatile design that can be used with any audio source; it features stereo Bluetooth streaming and can be used as a speakerphone; includes a built-in, rechargeable battery; comes with a handy carrying case; and it has all necessary cables.
The bad: The Logitech Pure-Fi Mobile doesn't come with a remote; speaker is light on low-end response and sounds slightly tinny.
The bottom line: The Logitech Pure-Fi Mobile is a versatile portable speaker system that's an excellent option for mobile-music-device users who value a compact design and multiple connection options over stellar audio quality.
The good: The Samsung BS300 features an ultracompact design with Bluetooth connectivity and built-in music playback controls.
The bad: The Samsung BS300 is relatively pricey and doesn't offer supreme audio quality (especially bass-wise).
The bottom line: The Samsung BS300 Bluetooth Speaker offers clear audio playback and a convenient, compact design that will appeal to wire-haters and frequent-fliers alike--just don't expect a lot of boom.
The good: Altec Lansing's iM600 speaker system offers a compact design, great sound, video output, auxiliary input, remote control, FM radio, and a rechargeable battery rated at 7 hours of continuous playback.
The bad: The iM600 does not secure your iPod from falling out; its alarm clock feature only works with the iPod; the rechargeable battery is not removable; and the FM radio band is wider than necessary.
The bottom line: Altec Lansing has been in the iPod speaker market longer than anyone, and it shows. The inclusion of a rechargeable battery and an FM radio makes the iM600 incredibly versatile.
The good: The iMainGo 2 portable speaker case is inexpensive, compact, and can be used with a variety of MP3 players. It comes in a choice of five colors and offers some innovative features.
The bad: The iMainGo 2's battery-insertion process is awkward, and it can be a challenge getting the battery compartment to stay shut.
The bottom line: The iMainGo 2 portable speaker offers an innovative design, solid sound quality, compatibility with a ton of MP3 players, and an extremely competitive price. It's a great choice for anyone who wants to rock out loud on the go.