CNET First Look
Altec Lansing Octiv Stage MP450Altec's Octiv Stage MP450 has an impressively flexible design that turns your iPad into a video monitor for bedside or kitchen viewing.
-I'm David Carnoy, executive editor for cnet.com and I'm here with the Altec Lansing Octiv Stage MP450. When we got our first glimpse of this docking speaker system for the iPad, we were pretty intrigued by its design which reminds us of the old armature G4 iMacs. Basically, once you've docked your iPad, the built-in rotating connection arm allows you to adjust the iPad to be viewed in portrait or landscape mode at multiple viewing angles. When you place that arm in an almost flat position, you can even type on your iPad while it's docked, but it also works with iPhones and iPods. Altec Lansing has geared this $150 accessory toward people who want to watch video on their iPads whether it be in the kitchen or bedroom and the company has built the speaker with that in mind. It says its Audio Alignment technology "provides distinctive center channel voicing and enhanced stereo delivery for distortion-free performance even at full volume." The system also has a 3.5mm auxiliary jack for connecting additional devices. As far features go, that's really it. There's a power button and volume controls on the front of the speaker and you get a small remote. Overall, the sound isn't bad, but it's not great either. The bass is somewhat and our music just didn't sound all that vibrant or detailed although the quality was acceptable for causal listening. The more positive note, we had no complaints about the sound and watching videos. In our test, we checked out authorized digital versions of Bolt and Hortons Hears a Who! and fired up Netflix and Sling Player Mobile App for iPad. In the end, the Octiv stage is really all about design. While as a basic feature set, most people used app such as Altec's Free Alarm Rock to turn their iPads into full feature alarm clocks. Also, search music apps as Pandora allow you to tap into free internet music with the iPad's Wi-Fi connection. Despite its meddling audio performance for music and somewhat high list price of $150, if you're looking for an iPad dock for playing back video or just docking your iPad by your bedside and using it as an alarm or to scan e-mails, the Octiv Stage is a lot to recommend it. Hopefully, Altec will improve the sound quality in the next version and maybe add a USB port or 2 for charging other devices. But for now, design [unk], performance and feature is enough to make this one definitely worth considering. I'm David Carnoy and it's the Altec Lansing Octiv Stage.