capsule review

Altec Lansing inMotion iM7 Shoulder Pack and Shoulder Harness

At a Glance
  • Altec Lansing inMotion iM7 Shoulder Pack and Shoulder Harness

Accessories for accessories for the iPod? Yes, it's come to this. But in this case -- no pun intended -- that's a good thing. We're big fans of Altec Lansing's inMotion iM7 portable speaker system, giving it one of our 2005 Plays of the Year awards. (See our review elsewhere on this site.) But one of our complaints about the iM7 is that its built-in carrying handle is a bit awkward to use -- when we first reviewed the system, we felt it should have come with a carrying case. Altec Lansing must have received similar feedback from users because the company has released not one, but two carrying accessories for the iM7.

The $50 Shoulder Pack is a padded, ballistic nylon case that completely encloses the iM7. You can't use the iM7 while it's in the Shoulder Pack, but the Pack offers good protection against damage from bumps, rain, and dust and dirt. A dual-zippered flap on top of the bag provides access to get your iM7 in and out, and a padded carrying handle and cloth shoulder strap make it much easier to carry compared to the iM7's small rubber carrying slot. A zippered compartment on the end of the Shoulder Pack is large enough to accommodate the iM7's AC adapter and dock cradle inserts, as well as a few personal items in an internal zippered pouch.

The $50 Shoulder Harness is an odd-looking contraption. Made of leather, it's designed not so much to protect the iM7 as it is to provide a way to use the iM7 while you're toting it around. The Shoulder Harness is composed of two leather rings that fit around the ends of the iM7, along with thick leather straps to connect the two rings -- one along the top of the iM7 that's permanently attached to the two end rings, and one along the bottom of the iM7, connecting to the two end rings via two snaps on each end. The end rings are open in the middle so as not to cover the iM7's subwoofer ports and each has a D-ring to which the Shoulder Harness's leather shoulder strap connects. The strap features a neoprene-padded shoulder pad and a leather pouch for carrying the iM7's AC adapter.

Overall, the Shoulder Harness is the way to go if you want to be able to move the iM7 around while it's playing, whereas the Shoulder Pack is better for protecting the iM7 during transport. Both are on the pricey side -- carrying cases for other systems in this price/size range, such as Tivoli's iSongBook, are only $30 -- but if you've got an iM7, I recommend one of them for much easier carrying (and varying degrees of protection).--Dan Frakes

At a Glance
  • Carrying case and carrying harness, respectively.

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