An 80s child, I grew up during the last days of cassette tapes (the term mix-tape had to come from somewhere, it’s not just the CD you burned from your iTunes downloads).
With cassette tapes, we had boomboxes. They came in all shapes and sizes, and depending on the age, they were very, very analog. And the boombox hasn’t gone away entirely. Some will say the large-form boxes are enjoying a comeback of sorts.
Of course, now we have iPods, satellite radio, HD Radio, Zunes (well one or two) and every song we could possibly want at the tip of our fingers for 99 cents.
There’s just something about a July day on the beach with a cooler and a boombox, though. And that’s why I like Altec Lansing’s inMotion iM9 iPod system and all the lower-case i’s that go with it. It just screams retro, and I think that’s why consumers are really taking to this one.
First of all, it runs on either AC power or four C batteries. Some people might not like constantly changing the batteries, but it’s still a far cry better than the current technology of rechargeable batteries that never reach 100 percent again. Fresh batteries = peak sound. You get 24 hours of battery life from the C’s.
The second retro piece comes in how you plug an iPod into the iM9. You press the button at the top and, just like a cassette deck, a door opens letting you drop your pod in.
Third on the retro block, the iM9 comes with a BACKPACK. I’d never use it. It’s tacky. But damn, it’s a backpack!
Finally, this mother is LOUD. And it’s not just loud; it’s clear, crisp and deep. The iM9 may not be the size of a boombox, but it sure sounds like one. The system is built on 2.75″ drivers, but the bass rivals many larger systems. The highs are also crystal clear. The iM9 does have a slight hiss, even when music isn’t playing. It gets annoying, especially if you want to leave the device in your bedroom or something.
The iM9 has a rugged case, and I think it’s a versatile option for outdoor listening. It’s not weather/water proof, but you can put it next to the grill, poolside or bring it to the beach.
There are several indoor applications, including audio and video outputs to hook your iPod up to your television.
The product works with iPod, iPod video, Nano, and Mini. The iM9 does work with new generation Nanos. There have been several complaints that it doesn’t work with the 2/3G iPod Nano, but it does. The device just didn’t come with the proper adapter. It was a huge F-up, but Altec Lansing offers the adapter for free for new Nano users.
Overall, the iM9 is impressive, compact and loud. It debuted with a $200 price tag, but you can scoop one up online for about $70. I say you should do just that.
Developer: Altec Lansing
Genre: iPod audio system
Launch Date: May 12, 2006
Overall: [rating:4.5] Editor’s choice