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Altec Lansing Orbit USB-Powered Portable Speaker

Are you a laptop person, or a smartphone kind of person? Can you keep connected well enough on the small screen, or do you tend to lug a laptop around with you for the full experience? The laptop gives you immediate access to all your files, and media, always ready for giving business presentations, or for just listening to your favorite music in your hotel room.

But while a laptop display works well for sharing the visuals for your work or for enjoying your media, a laptop's built-in speakers just won't do justice to the audio, whether in a meeting or in a hotel.

Instead, you can pack portable sound like the new Altec Lansing Orbit USB Speaker, available for $49. It connects via USB, so it's plug-and-play, and are powered through the same cable -- with no separate batteries or power cord required.

The Orbit USB is easy to pack, at around 3 3/8" by 2 1/8 inches, and under 6 ounces. And it's easy to carry, with a straightforward design of aluminum and composite, and a neoprene carrying case. The 16-inch cord wraps up to store in the base.

The speaker is designed to sit flat, with a 360-degree sound field, but also has a retractable stand to tilt up and aim the sound. The digital sound is clean, and loud enough for a room, without being ear-shattering.

There's also the Altec Lansing Orbit-MP3 Speaker with an analog connector, for $39 (see previous post). The analog jack means you can use it with a variety of other devices, including the iPod, iPhone, MP3 players, and laptops. But without the USB cable to provide power, it does require separate batteries.

You also can decorate your Orbit speaker with graphics from Skinit for around $12. These are glossy 3M Scotchprint graphics which peel and attach, but also can be removed without leaving a residue.

The Orbit speakers are mono, obviously. You can step up to stereo with a pair of LaCie USB or FireWire Speakers, USB for $29 and FireWire for $79 (see previous post). These are larger, at around 5.3 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches each, but can pack up to travel for events or can plug in quickly when you're back at your desk.

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

Find the Altec Lansing Orbit USB Speakers
and Orbit-MP3 Speakers on Amazon.com

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