Altec Lansing VS3251
- Above average audio performance, nice design, simple
- No on screen display makes calibration difficult, 5.1 only supported with compatible sound cards, bass performance lacking at higher volumes
The VS3251 speakers are a great option for PC users, but fall short in other categories. Their versatility is a plus, although they are let down by difficult controls.
Price$ 199.95 (AUD)
Altec Lansing's VS3251 audio system is a 5.1 surround sound speaker set, including a subwoofer, centre speaker, and two front and two rear speakers. Despite delivering reasonable audio performance, there are a number of issues with this system which really limit its potential, preventing it from becoming a fantastic device. Its compatibility can't be faulted, as it can be used with anything from PCs to Home Entertainment setups to MP3 players. Unfortunately though, it's held back by a frustrating interface and setup, and poor bass performance.
Sound quality on the VS3251 is generally quite good. It's well balanced, without a noticeable bias towards treble or bass. The midrange is powerful, but not to the point of overpowering the rest of the audio. While the entire range of audio is fairly well represented, it isn't necessarily so well reproduced. Treble has a distant and twangy edge to it, while midrange isn't very sharp, tending towards slurring at times. We found bass performance to be a little strange. At lower volumes it's punchy and quick, perfect for games and movies, although at higher levels it tends to reduce the entire audio output to a dull rumble. Nevertheless, audio performance is quite strong, and while not quite what we'd call "high-end", it definitely differentiates itself from a lot of the more average models we've seen. It should also be noted that 5.1 audio is only available when the unit is connected to a 5.1 compatible sound card, and that most DVD players and gaming consoles will only deliver stereo (2.0 channel) sound.
Setting up the unit starts out well; connect the cables, turn the unit on, and plug it into your audio source. After that however, things get a little more complicated. There's no way to really calibrate the speakers, apart from adjusting the volume on the rear and centre speakers to try to bring them to the same levels as the front ones. This is seriously hampered by the lack of an on-screen display, so you really have to do a lot of guess-work when trying to achieve the right volume levels. Bass and master volume levels suffer from the same lack of an OSD, and it took us quite a long time to get levels which we were happy with.
The VS3251's design is quite nice. The black finish and wooden case look attractive, and combine into a simple and elegant package once cables have been tucked away. The subwoofer houses the speaker and soundcard connections on the rear, with auxiliary and headphone jacks on the front, along with an LED power light and a volume knob. An infrared dongle is attached to the sub via a cable, allowing the remote control to be used even if the sub is placed under a desk, or in an inconvenient corner. The remote itself actually bares most of the unit's controls, and care must be taken not to lose it, since the front panel of the sub can't switch inputs or change specific volume levels.
Overall, the VS3251 speakers are a good package for PC users, or those looking for something with plenty of versatility. Users looking for a home theatre setup though, would probably be better served looking elsewhere.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- PC prices will continue to go up due to shortage of components
- Radeon Vega vs. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti? AMD, Nvidia announce dueling events at GDC 2017
- Toshiba's in chaos, but not quitting PCs -- yet
- Intel's 8th-gen 'Coffee Lake' chips reuse 14nm process as other Core CPUs ease into new tech
- Intel researches tech to prepare for a future beyond today's PCs
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- 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
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- TPiOS Developer (Mobile)NSW
- CCSenior Networks Specialist - DNS PlatformVIC
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Manufacturing and Trade & Logistics Modules)WA
- TPInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- TPSenior Analyst Programmer - ContractQLD
- TPSAP Helpdesk SupportACT
- TPTechnical Support Resource-Skype for BusinessVIC
- FTMonitoring Tools Support l NimSoft , SMARTS, ehealth, TivoliNSW
- CCCyber Security ArchitectNSW
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- FTSecurity Engineer - Permanent - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- FTSecurity Solutions Architect - Consultancy - Permanent - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTSystem AdministratorNSW
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- FTProject / Implementation Coordinator (Junior-Mid Level) Sunshine Coast LocationQLD
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Manufacturing and Trade & Logistics Modules)QLD
- FTDeveloper/ ProgrammerSA
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperQLD
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)WA
- CCSenior Business Analyst - AgileQLD
- CCUser ResearcherNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTFull stack Developer - Senior (Java or C# and AngularJS) x 3QLD