We called out for help with a month long blogger search, and help has arrived! We've invited a couple new writers to try out as potential Unplggd contributors, and today we begin with our first post from Campbell Faulkner. Tell us what you think of his first submission below:
Product: Altec Lansing Orbit
Rating: Strong Recommend*
High fidelity audio is a hard thing to produce. Even with the advances of digital amplifiers, hard-core listeners still reach for vacuum tubes. If your tastes run a bit simpler and on the smaller side, the Altec Lansing Orbit speaker is nothing short of astonishing.
The Mighty Speaker: Portable speakers are a common consumer device that can be found in places as mundane as the grocery store. Most that we have heard over the past few years have been lackluster for even our untrained ears. This left us unexcited to test this speaker, fearing the same old tinny and hollow music would emanate from its compact shape.
Sound: The all-in-one Altec Lansing Orbit is only 3.4 x 5.5 x 6 inches but packs a wallop of sound. It is not just loud; it is clear and audible at a surprising distance. Altec Lansing was smart and focused on producing audio that is extremely clear in human speech and higher frequency ranges. Obviously a speaker this small is no bass boomer, but the music does not sound like it is lacking depth. The size belies both the quality and intensity of the sound the speaker is able to produce.
Dimensions: 3.4 x 5.5 x 6 inches
Weight: 3 pounds
Batteries: 3 AAA
Connector: 3.5mm TRS headphone jack
The speaker is a tough plastic puck that is meant to be both portable and rugged. It should stand up to garden listening and bouncing down the trail on a mountain bike (we subjected it to both). The speaker also comes with a very high quality ridged fabric/foam case that should hold up to what ever you can throw the speaker's way. The packaging Altec Lansing chose even calls it the "mighty little speaker" and that description is not far off.
Uses: As mentioned above, we've used this speaker extensively as a portable system to boost the output of our iPhone when a large stereo is not available. The package boasts this as a lifestyle speaker for someone on the go, but this speaker also has considerable use around the home. Our deck does not have a speaker system so we use the speaker's small size and the iPhone to provide music while sitting outside. The speaker also shines in sports or camping situation thanks to its long battery life and aforementioned rugged build. Through the myriad of uses we have put it through, the speaker is still on its original set of batteries, after at least 30 hours of usage.
Overall: The Altec Lansing Orbit speaker is an excellent consumer grade product that is perfect for the causal music listener who needs a portable, smooth sounding system. Obviously it is not audiophile quality, but it should suffice for its intended purpose, and is available for a reasonable $26.96 at Amazon.