If you’ve ever used your iPhone in conjunction with something that includes speakers (e.g. car stereo, home stereo, alarm clock, powered speakers hooked up to the dock) then you know how annoying the sound of the GSM signal interfering with the music can be (yes, that’s what that is). Thanks to Altec Lansing’s T612 you can now enjoy your iPhone’s music as it was meant to be without all that darn interference.

What is the Altec Lansing T612?
Essentially, it’s a compact desktop stereo with an iPhone/iPod dock built-in to it. What’s special about the T612 is that Altec Lansing has included special shielding to prevent the iPhone’s GSM signal from invading the system’s audio. No more turning on Airplane mode and missing those ever so important text messages or calls. Oh ya, the T612 will stop the music when there’s an incoming call and slightly lower the volume for incoming texts insuring you don’t miss a beat when rocking out.

Can the T612 work without the iPhone or iPod?
Yes, but it’s primarily designed to be used with one of the two. Included on the rear of the device (see picture) is an AUX/HEADPHONE in. Altec also included a 6″ AUX cord for plugging in headphone-to-headphone.

How’s the sound quality?
Unfortunately, the sound quality is just mediocre at best. If you listen to country and soft rock you’ll be some what satisfied, but the T612 can’t handle low bass so hip-hop and rap are probably out. Furthermore, the T612 tends to distort when approaching max volume – usually an indicator of not enough ampage. Whilst listening to ‘classical’ at max volume there were noticeable audio vibrations. At low volume, though, the T612 performed satisfactorily and was a nice addition to my small kitchen – it’s not ideal for large rooms. Fortunately, you can manipulate the bass and treble settings, but I found it tough to find a setting to satisfy all music genres. The T612 includes four speakers: two tweeters for highs, and two drivers for mids and bass. The T612′s sound quality is probably on par with some of iHome’s larger alarm clocks, although it lacks the associated functionality. It should be interesting to see how the T612 stacks up against the yet to be released iHome iP99BR iPhone Alarm clock/stereo.

Any design flaws?
Actually, it’s quite well put together. It’s not too heavy – could be lugged from room-to-room – and since the only cord necessary is the power pack (the power pack is located mid cord making it compatible with older sockets and heavily populated power strips), it’s a pretty mobile device. Altec Lansing outfitted the back of the device with a rubber finish, which makes it easy to grab and less fragile when transporting. Volume, bass, and treble levels are indicated by 5 blue LEDs located behind its mesh face. The volume has 50 levels (5 increments per LED), while the bass and treble have 10 each (2 increments per LED). The LEDs illuminate for a few seconds after volume, bass, or treble have been adjusted.

Is there a remote?
Absolutely. You can skip songs ahead and back, adjust volume, pause music, and power on/off. The remote’s footprint is equal to that of a pack of gum, and no thicker then two sticks of gum. In other words, it’s small, takes one of those over sized watch-like batteries, and may be easy to lose if you’re of the forgetful type. A mount or dock for the remote would’ve been a welcome addition.

Anything else?
One more thing. The T612 is wall mountable as evidenced by the three holes on its back. Unfortunately, I can’t find (online) the necessary bracket(s) to do so, and it doesn’t appear to be included in the package.

Would you recommend buying it?
For me, it doesn’t meet my sound quality or versatility needs (I would want an alarm clock and radio for the price). But if you can’t wait for the iHome iP99BR, which may or may not sound better, and can’t stand switching to airplane mode then hop aboard the Altec Lansing T612.

Available here for $200.


Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."