Unlike the multitude of speakers available for Apple’s iPod and iPhone, Microsoft’s fledgling Zune portable music player speaker options are few and far between. Fortunately, most of the accessories made for the Zune are of pretty high quality, for exampleand a solid speaker base is called . For an equally noteworthy Zune speaker that is also small and portable in size, the Altec Lansing iM414 ($ 99) is the top dog.
Measuring 5.5 inches tall, 5 inches deep, and 10.5 inches wide, the iM414 is small enough to slip into a backpack and light enough to carry around the house at just 3 pounds. If you were thinking that the speaker’s small footprint and the subtle matte black and gray design would look like home on a nightstand, you might be disappointed to learn that the iM414 doesn’t work as an alarm clock. . In fact, the handy little 2.5-inch backlit LCD screen on the front of the dock can’t even tell you the time but is instead used to indicate the volume, FM radio frequency, and Audio options like bass boost and surround effect. On the plus side, at least you don’t have to worry about setting the clock every time you drain the speaker’s battery down to zero.
A charging dock for Zune is located behind the LCD display, and this package includes replaceable inserts to accommodate all Zune models, including Zune HD. Large, clearly marked buttons on the left and right sides of the stand make it easy to control the source, volume, audio source and bypass station monitoring. These same controls are reproduced on the included remote, along with additional controls for the radio presets and sound enhancement (bass boost, expander).