A friend came on holiday and set up one of these to entertain us in the evenings. I was looking for a loudspeaker solution for my own iPod and, although I wasn't familiar with the Altec Lansing brand (an American company) I really liked the styling as well as the sound quality.
It runs either from mains or internal rechargeable batteries which last a reasonable time. The neat, credit card size remote control has only a basic set up buttons but is powerful enough to work consistently across an average living-room.
Plus, as well as acting as an iPod dock there is an FM tuner with extending aerial, and a line-in socket to enable connection of a non-Apple mp3 player, CD player, cassette recorder (remember those?) etc.
The main function of course is as an iPod dock and speakers. The product description here states iPod nano, but the illustration looks like it has an iPod Classic docked (clue is the shape of the screen). The model I bought came with several adaptors for different iPod models, but be cautious before you purchase one (especially second hand on eBay) and check carefully with the vendor if it will suit your particular iPod. The IM500 has apparently gone through 4 versions now (as has the nano I believe) and surprisingly the range of iPods supported seems to have gone down. The model my friend and I have (version unknown) will play and charge both nano and classic iPods, it will play but NOT charge an iPod Touch. I've seen user reviews eleswhere complaining an IM500 won't charge their nano. Current product descriptions don't mention an FM radio, a remote or internal batteries either so it does sound as if these have been dropped from the latest specification which would be very retrograde and confusing for consumers, a shame because I do like the priduct I have. Reallyif they change the spec they should change the model number, not just a version number which isn't always stated in adverts). My advice is take your iPod along to the shop and try before you buy.
I decided on Altec Lansing because their speakers are used on my home computer and provide good quality sound, and the actual model I chose because of its compact and sleek size.
For me the speakers are only used on an average volume and are rarely tested on their maximum capabilities, however when they first arrived I did test them out and found that there wasn't much noticeable distortion which was a good thing. Generally the bass sound is very good from them as well.
The power supply is a neat design with interchangeable international plugs that "snap" into place so that you can power this anywhere in the world. I use a 4th generation 8GB nano iPod that sits neatly and firmly in the docking connector. The iPod battery is charged when connected.
It also has a Class D amplifier and can also run for 8 to 10 hours off 6 AAA batteries, or via the included AC adapter.
This speaker dock looks great, its slim, small and when it is not in use it is very unobtrusive. The whole thing can be folded up and tucked away in its carry bag and as it can use AA batterries as well as a mains lead it is very portable.
Sound quality is very good, with a great range with fantastic bass which is incredible given the size and width of the unit. There is no crumbling of sound quality as volume increases.
Where the Altec fails though is lack of charging facility on the unit. Unbelievably the unit will not charge your ipod nano, despite claims on the apple website to the contrary. The only reason I didn't send mine back was the fact that I have another dock in my kitchen that will charge my nano.
To sum up, great sound, great looks, but if you want a dock that charges your ipod, forget it.