Altec Lansing Octiv Mini M102 review: Altec Lansing Octiv Mini M102

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Altec Lansing Octiv Mini M102

(Part #: M102)
See all prices
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Compact, minimalist design; plays bigger than its size; turns into full-featured alarm clock after you add Altec's Alarm Rock app; GSM-shielded so iPhone can be used without the need to switch it to airplane mode.

The Bad Take away the iPhone app and the Octiv Mini is a basic iPod speaker that's a tad more expensive than it should be; app doesn't automatically launch when you dock your device.

The Bottom Line The Altec Lansing Octiv Mini is an ideal option for anyone seeking an affordable, minimalist iPhone speaker for the bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen.

7.3 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 7.0

There's a growing trend in iPhone/iPod speaker docks. Instead of building in a bunch of features like an LCD display for the clock, and AM/FM radio, or fancy alarm systems, companies like Altec Lansing are bringing out simple speakers that leverage the iPhone or iPod Touch's impressive capabilities that include the ability to run custom-designed alarm apps.

Some recent examples of the trend include the "app-enhanced" iHome iA5 (not a bad little system) and the iLuv iMM190, which we have not yet reviewed. But Altec's Octiv Mini M102 (reviewed here) is more successful than the iHome because of its smaller, more attractive design and lower price.

Plug your iPhone or iPod Touch into the Octiv Mini for the first time, and you'll be prompted to download Altec Lansing's alarm clock app.

Like iHome, Altec offers a free downloadable alarm-clock iOS 4 app. When you first plug in your iPhone or iPod Touch, you're prompted to install the free app, which is nice, and if you have a wireless connection, you'll be taken straight to the App Store to download it. Alas, the app won't automatically launch when you dock your device (that's an Apple issue).

iHome's app is currently more robust, feature-rich, and snazzier-looking, but Altec says it's in the process of upgrading its app, which is called Alarm Rock. Even if it isn't all that slick, you do get the ability to set alarms only on certain days, so you could, for example, have a weekend alarm and a weekday alarm (you can set the alarm to only go off on particular individual days as well).

The speaker itself is 3.8 inches high by 4 inches wide by 5.3 inches deep, though it has a unique cutaway design that gives it a more angular, modern look (it's thinner at the back of its base). Altec has also raised the speaker grille in the middle, splitting it in two and turning the square into to two triangles. Kudos to the designer for making what could have been a boxy little speaker a lot more interesting to look at.

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