Altec Lansing orbit MP3 (IM237)
A great portable speaker for iPods, MP3 Players and notebooks
- Small and very portable, long-lasting battery life, reasonable audio quality
- Heavy distortion at high volumes, cord can be hard to retrieve when wound
The Altec Lansing orbit MP3 (IM237) is a great portable speaker designed for listening to music while on the go. Good battery life and acceptable sound quality make for a great way of sharing music with friends.
Price$ 69.00 (AUD)
Not to be confused with the Orbit-MP3, Altec Lansing's orbit MP3 (IM237) is a highly portable speaker designed to share music from MP3 players and notebooks. Boasting a driver that is capable of blasting music at a reasonable volume without distortion, the orbit MP3 is a great companion to iPods and alternative MP3 players.
The orbit MP3 abandons the ubiquitous boxy shape of most speakers in favour of circular enclosure. Combined with an art deco logo, it makes for a refreshing look.
Standing 5cm high and 9cm across, this speaker isn't the smallest around; Altec Lansing's claim that you will be able to carry it around in your pocket is a little far fetched. Nevertheless, it is certainly a very portable device, and it comes with a plush carrying case to protect it from knocks and bumps.
Unlike the iPod-specific peripherals that populate the portable speaker market, the orbit MP3 has a standard 3.5mm jack. The use of a cord rather than an integrated iPod dock may seem a little unwieldy, but thankfully the cable can easily be stored under the device itself.
The 3.5mm jack lets you to use the speaker with any standard headphone jack on an iPod, MP3 player, laptop or compatible mobile phone. For mobile phones that use the less common 2.5mm jack Altec Lansing bundles an adapter.
Powered by three AAA batteries, the orbit MP3 has a claimed running time of 24 hours but our real-world tests showed very different results. Tested in 10-hour stints over four days, the orbit MP3 managed to last just under 37 hours at the highest possible distortion-free volume, surprising everyone at the PCWorld office. The speaker won't go out with a whimper either — once the batteries had finally begun to die, the speaker began to horribly distort, a telling sign that the batteries have been tortured to breaking point. Thankfully, the orbit MP3's power LED also acts as a battery indicator, turning red with a few hours of battery life left, before finally fading. There is no AC adapter, so users are limited to battery power. Then again, with this battery life, there really is no need to carry an extra adaptor around.
The 1.8in driver is certainly able to put out enough volume to share music with a few friends at the beach or park. Depending on the source, the orbit MP3 is quite capable of reaching beyond reasonable listening volumes without introducing distortion; as expected, however, sound becomes heavily distorted in the upper reaches of the speaker's limits. The volume can't be adjusted on the speaker itself.
Being such a small speaker, you shouldn't expect audiophile quality. However, music isn't as tinny as you would expect from a small speaker, but there is a heavy bias towards upper mid-range frequencies, preventing a warm or balanced sound. Though the orbit MP3 won't match the sound quality of a dedicated set of speakers, its quality is still surprising and certainly a step-up from the integrated speakers in mobile phones and most notebooks.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Apple's Q1: Record $US18.4 billion profit, but iPhone sales are slowing
- Sony shows latest high-end Walkman
- Sydney Airport lost property auction: you'll be amazed at what some people left behind
- The iPod classic plays its last
- Apple iPod Touch pricing slashed by up to 25 per cent in Australia
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- LG 2017 OLED and Super LED UHD 4K TVs: Hands-on review
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FT.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- CCAgile Project ManagerNSW
- FTServer Engineer l Windows l VMWare l Active DirectoryNSW
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer (Mid level) - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- TPDeployment OfficerQLD
- FTGraduate Software EngineerNSW
- CCPega DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior System AdministratorVIC
- FTArcFM/Gis Lead DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)NSW
- FTAgile Test AnalystQLD
- CCAutomation TesterQLD
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Forecasting SASNSW
- FTIncident and Problem ManagerVIC
- CCFull-stack Software EngineerNSW
- CCSecurity Incident Analyst - Splunk - TelcoVIC
- CCCloud Infrastructure SpecialistNSW
- CCVirtualisation Engineer - IP NetworksVIC
- FTArcFM DeveloperNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst - General InsuranceNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- FTSenior Project ManagerNSW
- TPSystems ManagerQLD
- FTAgile TesterNSW