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Back to the future: tunes to go, via a boombox

By Mark Baard
June 13, 2011

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Could this be the summer of the boombox?

Just as over-the-ear headphones have made a comeback in recent years (fashion is proving to be cyclical in consumer electronics), Altec Lansing’s latest boombox for the iPhone and iPod might create the next generation of outdoor music.

Yes, it’s strange to be discussing a gadget that significantly increases the size and weight of a device distinguished by its portability.

But the boombox, the MIX iMT810, will appeal to those of us who lugged those massive tape players to the beach in the summer and to house parties in the winter.

That’s because the MIX (at about $300) is a masterful blend of old and new.

The iPhone sits in it roughly where a cassette deck would in sit an old boombox. A blue LCD screen displays track information, battery status, and other device information.

It has an FM radio, auxiliary jacks for playing music from other devices, a digital equalizer with four presets, and a 5.25-inch subwoofer.

The MIX is certified for the iPhone 4. When a call comes into your phone while it is plugged into the boombox, the MIX automatically suspends playback. Once the call has ended, your tunes kick back in.

Now for the old-school fun: When you are on the road, the MIX, which has brushed aluminum and substantial-looking grips, gets its power from eight D-cell batteries. They are good for about 30 hours of pumping bass, according to Altec Lansing.

And while the MIX will charge your Apple device, it will not do so at the expense of your batteries. Rather, the boombox will charge the iPhone or iPod only while it is connected to its AC adapter.

VIDEOGRAPHY

170-degree camera will make the operator look good

If you find yourself scaling cliffs in New Hampshire or racing mountain bikes downhill this summer, you will want to have evidence of your feats.

Contour Inc. (www.contour.com) has released the Contour+, a 1080p HD camera with a 170-degree field of view and an external microphone jack.

The Contour+ (priced at about $500) will make you look good as a videographer.

Using the ConnectView Card that comes with the camera, you can set up your iPhone or iPod as a wireless Bluetooth viewfinder and remote. The camera captures video in several resolutions and at four different frame rates. You can also snap still images at 5 megapixels.

The camcorder has internal GPS transponder for recording your location, speed, and elevation as you rock the ridgeline on foot or bike.

The Contour+ comes with three mounts, a 2GB SD Card, and USB, HDMI and mic cables.

By plugging the Contour+ via the HDMI cable into an external transmitter, you can even stream video from that camera over the Internet.