Altec Lansing’s Orbit MP3 Speaker Means High Quality Sound yet Inexpensive Portability

The nice thing about cell phones and MP3 players these days is that they hold a ton of music and they are extremely portable and functional. But the problem is, most players either don’t have a speaker or if they do, it is only good for a conference call now and then and not really for playing your music or video library.

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This all changes with the ultra-portable Altec Lansing Orbit MP3 Speaker (the full name is the iM-237 Orbit Ultrapersonal Speaker). I recently received a, well I can’t say pair since it is a single speaker unit, of these for review from a PR firm and had very low expectations. I mean how good could a tiny battery-powered speaker actually be. To my surprise, the Orbit was actually quite good given its compact size.

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Slightly smaller in circumference than a CD-Rom disk and no taller than a couple of inches, the Orbit does manage to pack quite a little punch in its single-speaker design. The package comes with the speaker and a handy cases which makes for easy portability. There is an integrated headphone plug that curls up on the underside when transporting.

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The 3.5 mm headphone plug is it immediately compatible with most MP3 players and cell phones out there (that use standard headphone jacks). If you have a 2.5mm headphone plug, you will need to get an adapter, however.

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There is a power button on the side that acts as a battery level indicator as well: green means you are good to go and red means you need to replace the 3 AAA batteries.

You simply place the Orbit on a flat surface the the 360 sound is immediately apparent. I found in my testing that you can put the volumes at pretty high levels before you start hearing any type of distortion. I noticed that the power button would start to flicker red when I hit those distortion levels.

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I tested out the Orbit as a backyard solution for a dinner party. Using my old iPhone hooked up to wifi, I was streaming Pandora quickly and easily. With a variety of music, ranging from jazz to reggae to alternative, the Orbit performed well above my expectations. Later listening to speech (via a podcast), the Orbit was really quite ideal. My friends commented that for such a small form factor, the quality of audio output was quite good. You might try and use some of your device’s built-in equalizer settings to bump up the bass a bit (the treble is fine), but if you do increase the bass, you may have to lower the volume to prevent distortion. I left my equalizer off and playback was fine.

One set of 3-AAA batteries is supposed to last about 24 hours. I have not tested this but was able to get about 6 hours of continuous playback without any issues. The speaker may actually outlast your MP3 player! However, when you use the headphone output and turn off the display of your device, you will save a lot of battery live on your MP3 player.

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It would have been really great if there was a DC output and/or the ability to recharge the Orbit with built-in batteries. As it currently stands, the MSRP is $39.95 and you can pick an Orbit up on Amazon for $29.03 with free shipping.

Overall, if you are looking for a great portable speaker solution for laptops, cell phones or MP3 players, you don’t have a huge budget, and you don’t want to forgo audio quality, you may want to add the Altec Lansing Orbit MP3 player to your list. It provides fairly solid performance for a small, battery-powered speaker, is incredibly portable (the included case is a definite plus) and has great battery life using 3-AAA batteries.

HTD says: The Altec Lansing Orbit won’t break your bank and gives you a great small speaker with a big sound for people on-the-go!

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2 Responses

  1. I bought one of these to play music from my iPhone during a vacation. I used it outdoors by the swimming pool for about a week. Went through only one set of batteries (AAA). My friends and I were consistently impressed with the sound that came out of this little speaker; it's surprisingly loud and clear.

  2. I bought one of these to play music from my iPhone during a vacation. I used it outdoors by the swimming pool for about a week. Went through only one set of batteries (AAA). My friends and I were consistently impressed with the sound that came out of this little speaker; it's surprisingly loud and clear.

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Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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