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Altec Lansing's iM600 is a great road trip iPod speaker system

For only $150, this compact device provides rich sound and a nice set of features.

The Altec Lansing iM600 is an attractive, high-quality, affordable iPod speaker system. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

FARMINGTON, N.M.--One of the many gadgets I've been carting around with me on Road Trip 2007 is Altec Lansing's iM600 iPod speaker system.

I personally own a much earlier iPod speaker from Altec Lansing, and I've enjoyed it for a long time, though I've often wished it had a little more oomph.

Well, the iM600 has answered that desire, and for a remarkably affordable price: only $150 gets you this sweet compact little device.

Here's what it has: an easy-to-fit iPod dock (with plug-ins for iPod Nanos and older models), as well as an antenna for the built-in AM/FM radio.

The iM600 has wonderful, rich sound. I hesitate to turn it up all the way since I'm in a motel and it's kind of late, and I know that I would have no trouble waking up the neighbors with this little machine. Yet, at high volume, the sound doesn't lose any of its richness, something that wasn't true with my earlier model.

It also has a little remote control that lets you change songs, the input source (iPod, radio or auxiliary device) and more.

Road Trip 2007 promo

Even better, the iM600 has a rechargeable battery instead of using AAs. And while I haven't put this thing through endless testing, my sense is that it lasts a good long while. So far, at least, I've not really had to worry about it going dead. And, of course, when it's plugged in, it charges the docked iPod. Which is nice when you're on the road.

I suppose my only complaint is that it's difficult to search for songs on the iPod while it's docked, because it's hard to spin your fingers around the click wheel. Over time, I think that would be a significant annoyance, but so far, it hasn't bothered me too much.

All in all, though, I am pretty happy with the iM600, and I would think that most others would be, as well. There are, of course, many options to choose from, some cheaper, some more expensive. But when I learned that the iM600 was only $150, I was shocked. It's worth that much and far more.