Altec Lansing’s Orbit Portable Speaker Impressions

orbitreview.jpgSo what is the Orbit? Well it is simply a single speaker you can carry around with you that can connect to your iPod or other portable MP3 player. Usually you imagine yourself wearing little tiny headphones as you roam the landscape, but Altec Lansing believe we could also require a single portable speaker, so we can share our music with our friends.

The actual speaker is quite compact, yet has a surprisingly loud volume and clear sound, so don’t let the size worry you. It even gives you quite a wide field of audio as well, adding to the experience. You can even hear a little bit of bass resonance if you listen carefully enough. The main downside is of course there is no stereo, just a mono output. Using three AAA type batteries and including an adapter to plug into various output sockets, you have something that could actually be of help if you do indeed need to show the world your musical delights. Switching on and off is achieved simply by rotating the outer casing slightly and the weight is virtually non-existent. I did have a slight issue with the back of the speaker where you enter the batteries, as the fit is quite snug and the back plastic cover didn’t want to go back on very easily (maybe it is just me though!).

I do have one worry! When would you actually use it? If you are at home, you would have something far more elegant to plug into to achieve the best quality of sound for that environment. When you are out and about you would wear headphones, so you are only left with the sharing aspect. Can you imagine a group of youths hanging around on a corner with one of these things pelting out sounds at 2am? Hopefully instead, it will be used for sharing music and podcasts when you are on a holiday etc, but the use is quite minimal really. Prices range around £30 on the Internet, which maybe is a little pricey for what it is.

It is actually quite a neat little speaker that does the job well and better than I expected, but I am finding it quite hard to find a really good practical use for it.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 

James Woodcock

Freelance Journalist, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming and technology. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications.

  • TorBeest

    Maybe you can take it to a LAN, for portable (laptop) gaming.
    I never liked all the cables that come with stereo speakers, let alone taking one that has an adapter. Should be better than most Laptop speakers.

  • Loomie

    Well James, I guess you miss the point of this speaker a bit – I think this is the best alternative to the annoyingly huge iPod dock-in speakers which are a real pain when you want to transport them anywhere, a pain that is more often than not bearable on a sunny day when you want to hang out with your mates in the park..

    With the Orbit though this is no hassle whatsoever and you don’t need to worry if you kick it, drop it or if the football lands on the speaker etc. Why would you use headphones when chilling outdoors? And I doubt anyone wants to hang out in a park at 2am really, not sure what your point is :-?

    Have you ever analysed a PC from a mobility point of view lol

  • I sort of understand what you are saying, however headphones are far better for ‘mobility’, as you have no need for batteries, they are portable and sound far better thanks to stereo sound. If you are traveling and are in somewhere like a hotel, then take something more substantial that is stereo.

    I am all for something being portable, but not when it degrades the quality of your enjoyment, when there are better alternatives.

    This is of course my personal opinion, maybe I am not right, but it is my ‘opinion’.

  • Loomie

    Hmm, I think we are talk about two different things ;) The Orbit (and this is my opinion and I think it’s very logical) is not supposed to replace headphones, just like a PC is not supposed to replace a notebook – does that make more sense now? :)>-

    I see the Orbit as an evolution of the good old ‘Ghettoblaster’ which is totally ‘out’ nowadays and somewhat ‘unportable’ – the Orbit is exactly the opposite whilst providing a surprisingly clear and loud sound. Now I hope you get my point about your review which I still think has been written from the wrong point of view. OK it’s your ‘opinion’ but I think it’s extremely weird..
    /:)

    Anyway.. I like reading your blog now and then..

  • Thanks for your response…

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the speaker for what it is and as you say it is loud and clear, which I do mention in my post, however this is my personal website, so of course I am going to post about my personal experience with the product and that includes what would I use it for. The answer is quite simple for me, not really for anything as I would ‘prefer’ headphones.

    Maybe you could list a few ideas for uses of this product and we can all look back and smile about it all :)

  • funkman69

    ‘Loomie’ has got the right i dea i thought exactly the same when i read the review :)
    thank you though because if i ignore that you (along with other reviews ect) has convinced me to buy one i hope it will be fine for on a beach
    :)>-