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Altec Lansing Orbit-MP3 Portable Speakers - Share Your Music -

You can carry your entire music collection on your iPod, or even on your mobile phone, and that's great when you want to put on earphones and enjoy by yourself. But what about letting other listen so you can share your passions?

Yes, some media players like the Samsung P3 have integrated speakers and wireless Bluetooth to let others listen to your songs, but Apple does not believe in such things for the iPod. And while your mobile phone does have small speaker for hands-free calling, it's not great for savoring music.

But you can turn your portable device into an entertainment system with a portable speaker like the Altec Lansing Orbit-MP3 -- compact and portable enough to carry along easily, but big enough to provide good sound, and priced at $39.95.

The Orbit designed to lie flat to provide a 360-degree sound field. It plugs into your iPod, iPhone, MP3 player, or laptop with the integrated 8-inch cord (standard 3.5 mm connector -- there's also an orbitM model that includes a 2.5 mm adapter for use with mobile phones). And it plays up to 24 hours on 3 AAA batteries.

The Orbit is certainly easy to carry, at around 3 1/2 inches in diameter and 2 inches high. The cord wraps up inside the base, and the product includes a protective case and carry strap. The Orbit design was updated for this year, and now has a power button and battery level indicator light so you don't run down the batteries when not in use (see previous post).

There's no volume control -- just crank up the sound on your player. The Orbit plays loud enough to be heard across a room, but still lets you have a conversation. The sound is clean (though obviously not stereo), although at max volume on an iPod nano the speaker did break up at some of the louder parts of Amadeus.

The Orbit design was updated for this year, and is not particularly sexy looking (arguably less so than the previous model), but has a simple shape that's designed to be rugged and functional. But now you can jazz it up with graphics from Skinit for around $12 -- choose from a variety of designs (licensed logos, art, and photos), or upload your own. The design is printed on glossy 3M Scotchprint graphics, which you peel off and wrap around the outside of the Orbit (in two strips, for the base and the top). The Skinit prints look good, are durable, and don't leave a residue after removal (which also means they are relatively easy to put it on since you can adjust the positioning).

The Orbit-MP3 is a solid portable speaker that you can throw in your bag to share your music with a larger group, or even to listen without earphones from your laptop or in a hotel room.

See my Audio Accessories Gallery for more on portable speakers and earphones.

    Find the Altec Lansing Orbit Speakers on Amazon.com

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