Altec Lansing has delivered finely tuned speakers for years, and they continue to improve at this year’s CES with their 5000 series. They have two noticeably new all-in-one speaker systems available, and with identical form factors. However, they differ primarily in functionality rather than hardware. The first demonstrated was the InAir 5000 Wireless AirPlay speaker.
As the name suggests, InAir is streamed over Wi-Fi via AirPlay for all iOS devices and computers through iTunes. The speakers have an excellent range across the board, even on the noisy showroom floor. It’s made out of brushed metal with plastic covering the sides. The build quality looked very decent, but couldn’t compare to the LIVE 5000 version.
The LIVE 5000 looks very similar, but delivers an entirely different experience. Different doesn’t always mean better, but in this case it does. The LIVE doesn’t limit its user to a single platform, as it supports iOS, Android, and over PC/Mac via their desktop LIVE controller. It also features streaming services such as Pandora, SiriusXM, TuneIn, and Rhapsody. They expect even more streaming applications available before launch.
We should see both speakers just before summer, but hopefully we’ll get to review one before then. They sounded great and the applications had fluid user interfaces.