Just over a year ago, I bought an iPod speaker system from Altec Lansing. Easily as good as the Apple equivalent (and at less than half the price), I’ve been really pleased with them, so when Altec Lansing‘s public relations team got in touch and asked if I’d be interested in a new portable speaker for review, I was pleased.
Unfortunately, my pleasure didn’t last too long once I received the speaker (yes, singular). You see, I’m now in the second half of my thirties… closer to 40 than to 30 and I have two kids, so I guess I’m entitled to be a grumpy old man. I find it offensive when people (generally teenagers) walk around playing their music on their phones or other portable devices through poor quality, low powered speakers and can’t help thinking that at least in my day I had a “ghettoblaster” the size of a large piece of luggage to annoy people with my idea of good music (I won’t embarrass myself by divulging any further details…). What’s that got to do with the iM207 speaker (also known as the Orbit) that Altec Lansing sent me? Well, quite a lot as it happens as I’ve had my Orbit for a couple of weeks now and I have been trying to think of something good to write about it:
- I could say that the Orbit is small. But it’s not really – just look at the picture of one next to a standard iPod.
- I could say that the Orbit looks good. But it doesn’t. I’m sorry but I just don’t find black and chrome-effect plastic very attractive (although, now I come to think of it, that’s what the iPod uses…).
- What about battery life? To be honest, I don’t know (Altec Lansing claim 24 hours on three triple-As) and anyway, that will vary according to a number of factors including the battery brand and characteristics, as well as the type and volume of music being played.
- What about sound quality – surely that’s the most important thing? Yes, it is, but my iPhone’s internal speakers are better and when I plug the Orbit into my iPod I can only listen at up to about 25% volume before the distortion starts to kick in.
- I could say that the Orbit is inexpensive. But I think Â£29.99 is a lot for something that’s not really very good. Â£14.99 would be a different story.
- The best thing I can say about the Orbit is that the cable storage is well thought through and it’s iPhone friendly. There’s also a 2.5mm converter for use with mobile phones that don’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
- There is one more thing too… you can get an Orbit for free – and hey, maybe you’ll like it better than I did. Just go to the YouGroove site and sign up.
So, I’m sorry Altec Lansing… you asked for a fair review and I really tried but the Orbit just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe I’m just not in that target “YouGroover” audience and I like my music to either be personal (i.e. in-ear) or to be played through a decent speaker system.