The Good Distinct, retrolicious design; excellent sound for a system this size; FM radio; two auxiliary inputs placed on the top of the unit for easy access; portable (powered by 8 D batteries); slot for storing remote, which also clips onto a belt.
The Bad Pricey; no AM radio; would be nice if the system included a rechargeable battery; no video outputs.
The Bottom Line The design of Altec Lansing's Mix iMT800 may not appeal to everyone, but its winning combination of good performance, lots of oomph, and portability makes it one of the best iPod speaker options out there.
Altec Lansing Mix iMT800
Editors' note: As of June 2011, the Altec Lansing Mix iMT800 has been replaced by the nearly identical. However, if you don't need the slight changes found on the new model (iPhone 4 certification, blue backlighting, silver accents), the older iMT800 reviewed here is a better deal while it remains on sale at a discount until inventory has been fully depleted.
Back in the 1980s, when portable audio was synonymous with "cassette tapes," boom boxes were a mainstay of music culture. While luggable, battery-powered speaker systems still exist today, they tend to be somewhat dainty iPod speakers. Altec Lansing's $300 Mix iMT800, meanwhile, aims to mix and match the best of the old and new. It has the look and feel of an old-school, crank-it-till-your-ears-bleed boom box--albeit a rather stylish one--but it boasts an iPod/iPhone dock (and it's GSM-shielded, to boot, so you don't need to flip the iPhone into airplane mode).
While this can certainly be used as a stay-at-home stereo, Altec isn't shy about mentioning that it also makes for a good party system indoors or outside. On top, you'll find a handle, and you can also pick the unit up using the "grab" handles on the front of the speakers.
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