Editors' note: 10/9/2006 The SanDisk e200R Rhapsody was not supported by the iM510 when this review was written. The latest firmware update makes the e200R compatible with the iM510s.
Stand back, iPod! There's a third-party portable speaker system that's not made for the iPod. Altec Lansing's Made for Sansa inMotion iM510 speaker set is designed for the SanDisk Sansa e200 and c200 series of MP3 players. Altec Lansing has been paying attention to SanDisk's rapid rise to number two in sales--far behind Apple--and will certainly get a piece of the Sansa accessories pie with this compact and good-sounding speaker set ($120). And its few weaknesses won't spoil the party.
Measuring 8.4 by 2.1 by 3.8 inches when closed and weighing just over a pound without batteries, the mostly black, contoured, box-shaped speakers are compact enough to stow away in a mostly full backpack. They aren't waif-thin like the iM500 set, which are specifically made for the iPod Nano, but the battery- and AC-powered set travels well (a soft case with extra pockets is included).
Pressing the button located between the four drivers (two on each side) pops open the Sansa player dock. No Nakamichi smoothness here, it just snaps out. The proprietary dock connector will work with Sansa e200 and c200 players (those with older players will want to update to the latest firmware). The new Sansa e200R Rhapsody will also work with the speakers. All other devices can be connected via the line-in jack on the backside (standard cable included).
Before you dock your Sansa, you need to attach to the speakers a model-specific spacer (two are provided) that keep the player sturdy. Though we recommend using them, they can be a pain when you're mobile, as it's an extra piece you need to account for. I also don't like how the dock too easily pops open with some pressure on the backside.