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APRIL 22, 2006
iPod Travel Cases

Before heading to Puerto Vallarta in late February, I scouted a few portable speaker systems for my iPod and came across a couple that were really fantastic.

The two that really impressed me were the Altec-Lansing IM5 and SonicImpact's i-Fusion.

They both have amazing sound, regulated bass output, recharging capabilities and can be plugged in or powered with batteries. And from a design point of view, they both show great promise.

keep reading after the jump...


The IM5 is compact and everything is built in to one unit (versus older versions like the IM4, where the speakers fold out). The iPod dock pops out (via a button on the front of the unit) and serves as a "now playing" cradle to display your iPod, and you can also plug in the iPod's connector to dock it to you computer to download new music. The built-in speakers are so powerful (with MaxxBass technolgy) that the sound carries a few rooms away -- and pumps loud enough to enjoy outdoor listening. It's super portable (and comes with a padded travel bag) and weighs in at under 1.5 pounds.

The i-Fusion is a little bulkier and larger than the IM5 but its bulk translates to superior protection for the unit as well as your iPod, which can store inside a semi-hidden slot. The hard case is great for keeping everything safe and stored -- including the lithium ion battery and earbuds -- but it is bulkier and may take up more space in your bag or backpack. Like the IM5, everything is built in and the iPod docks into a display-like arena and charges your player while plugged in. The sound, also with MaxxBass technology, is good but not as good as the IM5. While the IM5 totally controls the volume, you can also adjust your volume through the iPod while docked in the i-Fusion, which decreases the quality, in my opinion.

Overall, I think both units are great but I would have to recommend the Altec Lansing IM5 for superior quality and ease of portability. However, if you're looking for a complete all-in-one portable speaker system with great storage, go with the i-Fusion. As for price, it's a wash with both coming in at $149.95.

For a lengthier review that includes more units, hop over to CoolHunting

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