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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Portable SSD
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Apple TV will serve as hub for remotely controlling HomeKit devices
- Sony Smart B-Trainer headset gives runners vocal advice
- The iPod classic plays its last
- Apple iPod Touch pricing slashed by up to 25 per cent in Australia
- Apple shows off iPod touch, nano updates
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.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTService Desk AnalystsSA
- CCBusiness Analyst - General InsuranceNSW
- CCWeb Data Entry PublisherACT
- CCNetwork Engineer (cisco)NSW
- FTWorkforce AnalystNSW
- FTPower BI Reporting DevelopersSA
- CCMicrostrategy DeveloperVIC
- CCBig Data Developer - Government - 12 Month Contract - SydneyNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst Digitalisation projectsQLD
- FTICT Change AnalystSA
- FTSystem EngineersVIC
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- TPApplication DeveloperACT
- FTLead DevOps EngineerNSW
- FT.Net Developer - Mid-levelNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystSA
- TPSenior SAP Time and Payroll Functional ConsultantQLD
- FTCitrix EngineerNSW
- FTFull Stack DeveloperWA
- FTApplication Support Consultant (Oracle SQL, Unix scripting)NSW
- FTFront End .Net Developer. Permanent jobACT
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistVIC
- CCICT Strategist and AdvisorNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC