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Reviews

Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade Bluetooth Speaker

By Legacy March 14, 2008, 12:31 am

INTRODUCTION

    The Altec Lansing name has been well known in consumer and professional audio circles for many years. They are the market leader in personal computer speakers. They were purchased by Plantronics in 2005 and since then they have released a series of products geared to provide high quality sound for mobile devices. The inMotion iMT525 SoundBlade Bluetooth speaker merges Plantronics Bluetooth headset and Altec Lansing speaker technologies to produce a Bluetooth speaker system suitable for home or travel. Let see how well it works!

WHAT’S HOT

    The Altec Lansing SoundBlade Bluetooth speaker system features:

  • Up to 24 hours of playing time on 6 AA batteries
  • Supports the A2DP stereo and AVCRP remote control Bluetooth profiles
  • Doubles as a speakerphone with the Hands Free Bluetooth profile
  • Shielded design to prevent GSM/CDMA speaker buzz
  • Supports True Bass SRS sound equalization system


SETUP

    The Altec Lansing SoundBlade includes everything you need to pair to a compatible Bluetooth device or a wired device with a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack.

The Altec Lansing inMotion iMT525 SoundBlade Bluetooth speaker retail box.

The Altec Lansing SoundBlade includes a 100 – 240 AC power adapter, a 3.5mm male to male stereo extension cable, a nylon protective pouch and a user manual.

PRODUCT FEATURES

    The Altec Lansing SoundBlade is very intuitive and with a Bluetooth hands free speakerphone built in, it is a great addition to any Bluetooth compatible smartphone.

The Altec Lansing SoundBlade speaker provides stereo sound with two 2.5" full range custom designed speakers.

The back of the unit.

The Altec Lansing SoundBlade is less than 1" thick. A stabilizing pedestal pops out the back to enable it to stand up.

The Altec Lansing SoundBlade requires 6 AA batteries which can run the speakers for up to 24 hours. An AC adapter is included. Rechargeable batteries would have been a nice option.

The rear of the unit reveals a 3.5mm stereo input (red arrow) and the AC adapter jack (blue arrow) behind the pedestal stand.

    The top of unit provides all of the controls to operate the Altec Lansing SoundBlade. From left to right you will find: the microphone, the power button, the answer call/end call/stop music/pair button, the status LED, the rewind/voice dial/mute button, the play/pause/manual connect button, fast forward/last number redial/audio transfer button, the volume – and + buttons. The SoundBlade is a full featured Bluetooth hands free system with stereo functionality.

    The Altec Altec SoundBlade paired easily with the Verizon SMT5800 Windows Mobile 6 Standard smartphone. It worked very well with the SoundBlade both for listening to music and answering/placing calls. One of the idiosyncrasies of Bluetooth stereo is that it tends to favor high frequencies making some Bluetooth speakers and headphones sound tiny. The SoundBlade remedies this situation with True Bass SRS. This provides a welcome equalization shift, however some may find the sound to have to much bass and unfortunately there is no way to turn off SRS feature. The overall stereo sound is full and pleasing. The speakerphone call quality is excellent, although it is provides more bass than what you might expect from a stand alone Bluetooth speakerphone.

    The iPhone does not provide Bluetooth A2DP stereo capability, but you can still use the Altec Lansing SoundBlade by using the auxiliary input. When this input is used, all Bluetooth functionality is turned off and the speakerphone functionality is not usable. I did not find the sound to be as pleasing as with Verizon SMT5800. This is probably due the fact that the SoundBlade equalization engineered for Bluetooth devices and not for the iPhone.

The Altec Lansing SoundBlade in its protective nylon case is ready to travel. Its rectangular size of and less than 1" thickness makes it easy to place in any suitcase, briefcase or backpack.

    The Altec Lansing SoundBlade is packed with features. You can control tracks and volume from the unit, as well as initiate your compatible Bluetooth phone’s voice dialing function. It initiated Microsoft’s Voice command on my HTC Kaiser without issue.

HELP SUPPORT

    The customer service for Altec Lansing is handled by calling the telephone numbers found in this help section. A lean FAQ section can be found here. The SoundBlade’s manual in PDF format is also available.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

    The Altec Lansing SoundBlade stereo Bluetooth speakers requires a Bluetooth enabled device which supports the A2DP (stereo), AVCRP (remote control), and Hand Free (speaker phone) profiles. You can also use a device which has a 3.5mm stereo output, but you forgo all the SoundBlade’s Bluetooth functionality.

BUGS AND WISHES

    I found no issues or problems pairing or operating the SoundBlade with all of my Windows Mobile devices. My main wish for the product is the ability the adjust the equalization. In addition, I think rechargeable batteries would have been a better option, since the SoundBlade requires six (!!) batteries to run. Finally, the True Bass SRS should have an off switch.

PURCHASING

    The Altec Lansing inMotion iMT525 SoundBlade retails for $129.99. It can be purchased directly from Altec Lansing.


PROS


  • Sleek, thin design


  • Excellent stereo sound quality


  • Phone and stereo remote control functionality

  • No GSM buzz

CONS


  • Rechargeable batteries are not included


  • True Bass SRS system can not be turned off/adjusted


  • Uses six AA batteries

Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean?

OVERALL IMPRESSION

    Plantronics and Altec Lansing have done an excellent job of integrating great headset technology with superior sounding speakers in the SoundBlade. It is clear that they understand the issues with the poor equalization found in devices which support Bluetooth stereo. They have remedied the tendency for Bluetooth stereo sound to be tiny by using True Bass SRS, however they should have provided a means to adjust it or turn it off since it also affects a callers voice. Although the speakerphone sound quality is excellent, it does tend to have a lot of bass. The Bluetooth remote control functionality is outstanding, even down to a Bluetooth connect button. I found the use of 6 AA batteries to be a lot and it would have been nice for Altec Lansing to provide an option for a rechargeable battery pack. The GSM/CDMA buzz shielding works as advertised, I never heard the familiar buzz you get when you place your phone near a clock radio. All in all this is a well engineered and excellent sounding speaker system for someone looking for a full featured Bluetooth speaker which is easy to travel with or at home on a desk.


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