Image: Hugh Threlfall
September 14 2011
I’m always game for a new and good-looking travelling sound system for my laptop, and this is one of the neatest and best I’ve come across in ages.
Altec Lansing is a funny old fish. It typically brings out a stonking sound product, then 100 dreary ones, then another excellent one. This battery-less, USB-powered portable sound system is definitely stonking. The Orbit USB Stereo looks smart and I like the way the two speakers fix together neatly into a nice tube. Each speaker also has a well-designed stand to help get your sounds perkily arranged on your desk.
The system packs a nice, punchy sound. While I wouldn’t say the audio is thin, it’s not exactly thick or as sophisticated as the best current portable music gadget, the Jawbone Jambox. But the Jambox remains awfully hit and miss to get going, especially if you’re feeding it by Bluetooth from a Mac. The Orbit, by contrast, is the “pluggest and playest” of any of these devices. It’s a cinch, even given the gothic complexities of Windows, because it’s connected by an old-fashioned but reliable piece of wire. With the Orbit, you also get a better spread of sound, as you can position one speaker either side of the laptop. Pump up the volume and these are really good – so both stylish, and very decent too.