Altec Lansing has a long history of producing stellar little speaker systems designed around the iPod. Its latest portable speaker, the inMotion Classic ($149), continues the company's tradition of delivering quality audio in a compact and stylish design.
The first thing you'll notice about the inMotion Classic is that in spite of its old-fashioned name, there's nothing "classic" at all about this speaker. In fact, it's very modern looking and uses an angular design with a black, metal grille taking up most of the front. Only the iPod dock and a 2.5-inch patch of plastic for the built-in LCD break up the face of the speaker system, which measures 12.5 inches across.
On the back of the speaker, you have a retractable antenna for the built-in FM tuner, along with a power adapter input and an aux input for plugging in an external audio source. A storage slot for the included remote control is located above the two inputs, offering a convenient, yet out of sight place to store the remote when it is not in use.
One of the more interesting elements of the inMotion Classic is its integrated kickstand. The kickstand is plastic, but it is relatively sturdy and permanently hinged to the each side. The hinge locks in three positions: a downward position for storage; an outward position for propping up the speaker; and an upward position that works like a handle for carrying the speaker like a boom box. Of course, without any way to lock your iPod into the dock, we don't recommend using the handle position unless you're just listening to radio. For a proper iPod boom box, check out the.
The main takeaway on the design of the inMotion Classic is its compactness. It's not quite as small as something like the Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere 2, but the Classic's design and sound quality are far more impressive. Folded flat, the inMotion Classic measures only 2 inches thick by 6 inches tall by 12.5 inches wide, and it can easily be stowed in a backpack.
The inMotion Classic doesn't include features such as Bluetooth or AM radio, but most competitors in this price range don't either.
What the Classic does best is offer great sound. In fact, despite being half the size of last year's $199, we think the Classic actually offers a richer sound than its predecessor and a comparable volume range. Like the Max, there are no EQ settings on the Classic, but the overall sound is crisp with a surprising amount of meat on the low end compared with other fold-flat speakers we've tested from Logitech and Griffin. An "expanded sound stage" setting is included to give recordings a little extra stereo oomph, but that's about the only audio trick up its sleeve.