Man Overboard! Throw Him a Life Jacket!

The Life Jacket iMW575 is a ruggedized, portable Bluetooth speaker. It is the flagship in a line of speakers carrying the Altec Lansing name. The Life Jacket stands out with an impressive 16 hours of battery life. It features a rubberized case that provides an IPX7 rating; that means the speaker is waterproof - it can be submerged in a meter of water for 30 minutes. The design also confers a degree of shock resistance, and the speaker can withstand a degree of dirt, sand, and dust.

Speakerwise, the Life Jacket offers two 2.5-inch neodymium drivers and a passive radiator. Importantly, it also has aptX processing to improve Bluetooth streaming audio quality. For your wired needs, an AC adapter is also included. Interestingly, and somewhat uniquely, the speaker can also charge external devices via USB, whether or not it is currently AC powered. Lacking a tape measure or scale, I estimate the Life Jacket to measure about 2 x 6 inches, and weigh about 1 pound.

As with most Bluetooth speakers, the Life Jacket also functions as a speakerphone; it has a microphone, and even provides a spoken caller ID. Bluetooth signal range is pegged at 30 unobstructed feet. The speaker can remember up to eight paired devices. A minijack input provides for wired operation.

Finally, some corporate background: Of course, you're heard of Altec Lansing, a storied name in audio. After an absence, Altec Lansing is back. That's because the name was purchased in 2012 by Infinity Lifestyle Brands, a company that specializes in turnarounds. Sakar International is Infinity's North American licensee. Sakar designs and markets consumer electronics under a variety of licensed names. Through that labyrinth, the Altec Lansing Life Jacket thus emerges, along the more than a dozen other Altec Lansing products. The Life Jacket is perhaps designed by Sakar, but carries the Altec name.

The Life Jacket comes in seven colors and will be available in Spring, 2014.

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