Altec Lansing – inMotion Classic review

portable speakers for iPod and iPhone
Photo of Altec Lansing – inMotion Classic

There are lots of devices into which you can plug your iPod or iPhone in order to share its music with others or simply listen to it for yourself through speakers rather than headphones. Added value comes with the inclusion of radio and other audio capabilities. Altec Lansing’s inMotion Classic offers these features, though little more. There’s no DAB support, no wake-up alarm function, so simplicity is really the key here.

The inMotion Classic is designed primarily to be a portable speaker system rather than something you would use all the time. To that end it is fairly slim and light; we measured it at about 315mm wide, 140mm tall and 50mm thick and our scales say it weighs just a shade over 1kg. You’ll notice the weight in a suitcase, then. And if you do intend to travel with it you’ll need a protective case, something which Altec Lansing does not provide.

The black and silver chassis design is not very novel, but the kit should sit unobtrusively on a shelf or desk. On the back of the casing there is a 3.5mm connector, so you could connect any MP3 player or other device easily. It charges your iPod or iPhone when that is docked, and its own internal battery will keep the inMotion Classic going for up to five hours.

We like the carrying handle which tucks in flush to the casing when the inMotion Classic is not in use, swivels out to sit proud of the casing for carrying and locks into a stand position when you want to use the speakers. We also like the little slot on the back of the casing that houses the remote control. Rather less flimsy than some, its buttons are clearly labelled. We found we had to press rather hard to get the buttons to react, though.

The on-device buttons are very large with raised markings that help you get to them by touch. This could be handy if you want to use the inMotion Classic as a bedside player as it makes it easy to find the buttons in the dark.

There is a small LED display area on the top front-right of the casing that shows different information depending on what you are doing. Its data includes battery charge level, FM radio frequency, volume level, and artist/album/track information when you are playing music from the iPod or iPhone. The latter often involves scrolling the display, which is a somewhat slow process.

The on-board FM radio has four presets; barely enough, really, for many radio fans. Sound output quality is fair. There’s a good amount of bass, and at lower volume levels we were quite happy with the quality delivered. You can take the volume quite high, but as you approach the top end, sound becomes distorted.

As well as not providing a carrying case Altec Lansing fails to deliver any user instructions. This is a real shame. Even a one-page guide would have been useful, and while there is a detailed feature diagram on the box, this it isn’t really a substitute for some step-by-step instructions.

Company: Altec Lansing

Contact: 0870 458 0011


The inMotion Classic is a fair portable music system delivering reasonable but not outstanding quality output. More radio presets, a protective sleeve and a printed manual would all have been welcome.