CNET First Look
Altec Lansing inMotion Air IMW725Though it's neither the best-sounding nor the cheapest Bluetooth speaker we've heard, the Altec Lansing InMotion Air IMW725 wins points for its attractive design, portability, and plug-and-play setup with any PC.
-Hi. I'm David Carnoy and I'm here with Altec Lansing's InMotion Air IMW725 Bluetooth speaker which retails for $199. As you could see, it's got a unique modern design and one of the nice things about it is that it has a built-in rechargeable battery which means you can take it outside without having to plug it in. While it may not be everybody's cup of tea, I thought its design was one of its strong points and also appreciated little touches like this integrated handle at the top of the unit and the hideaway slot for the included remote on the back. Since the InMotion Air uses bluetooth, it works with a wide range of devices that support bluetooth including iPhones, iPads, and various Android smartphones and tablets. If you're on a stereo bluetooth-enabled device, all you have to do is pair it with the Air to stream you music wirelessly to the speaker. Like many bluetooth speakers, it doesn't come with a dock for charging your phone, so it would have been nice if Altec had included a USB port for charging like it does with its Octiv Duo iPhone/iPod speaker dock. Around back, you will find an audio input for connecting other devices but you don't get a built-in bluetooth speaker phone like you do with such devices like Aliph's tiny Jawbone Jambox. What's impressive about the Air is that it offers better range than some bluetooth speakers we've tested. The specs actually say that you're only supposed to get about a 33-foot range using your mobile device. I managed to go beyond that distance by several feet and using the included USB dongle that allows you to stream audio from your PC, the range has extended to 300 feet. As for sound, I had mixed views. Altec says the Air's apt-X technology works within bluetooth to deliver CD-quality audio. Maybe it does, but you still need good speakers to take advantage of good sound. In that regard, compared to other bluetooth speakers of this ilk, the Air actually performs reasonably well and sounds decent enough with lighter fare and acoustical material which basically means it plays well in the midrange. It also plays pretty loud, but the treble's got a little harsh edge to it and the bass is noticeably thin. So what's it add up to, well, I like the Air overall but I'm not sure it's worth $200. Yes, it's got some nice extras like the PC dongle and rechargeable battery, but I personally think it makes more sense at less than $150. Currently, we haven't seen it at that price but these types of products have a tendency to drop over time and it may just get there. I'm David Carnoy and that's the Altec InMotion Air Bluetooth speaker. Thanks for watching.