If adding a plastic cradle (sans Dock Connector pins) to a set of white and black speakers is all that it takes to be iPod-specific, Altec missed (more likely, intentionally avoided) the iPod-only boat with the inMotion iM4s, which we previewed yesterday and noted were platform-agnostic. But computer peripheral maker Logitech is using just that simple of an iPod integration system in its new mm22 ($79.99, available for $58 online) portable speakers.
The mm22’s are foldable travel speakers intended to compete against Altec’s established inMotion series, and they appear to share at least some design DNA. Both companies’ speakers have the same two-driver-per-channel approach, and Logitech’s travel case, audio cables, and digital volume controls undeniably resemble Altec’s XT1 laptop speakers.
Differences begin in the iPod dock and mounting system; Altec’s speakers have large fold-out plastic bases that house iPod docks, while Logitech’s system uses three attachable plastic iPod cups without Dock Connectors, one each for iPod minis, thin iPods, and thicker iPods/iPod photos. There’s a metal mounting loop on the back to prop the system up, however, we’re finding that the system actually depends a fair bit on the unique plastic audio-in “leg” to keep everything stable, as the metal loop doesn’t lock in place or ratchet between positions.
Logitech includes an AC adapter with the mm22’s, but they can also be run off of four AAA batteries, loaded into two compartments on the back. Folded and carried without their case, they’re actually quite a bit smaller than Altec’s iM1/2/3/4s, but the case is a necessity since there’s no other included accessory that protects the exposed speaker drivers.
Sound quality? Volume’s in the same class as most of the other portable speakers we’ve tested – enough to fill a room, but not more. Distortion isn’t bad, and since bass doesn’t appear to be as ‘Maxxed’ as in the iM series, there’s a bit less compression in the sound. We’ll have more to say on this point soon, but the general impression is favorable. And the twistable speakers, as in the photo? It’s mostly a cosmetic thing, if you like your speakers visually angled.