Altec Lansing Orbit USB review

This little cylinder is a bit of a bargain for basic laptop listening Tested at £40.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Achieves what it sets out to do by delivering decent sound cheaply


  • +

    Cheap and cheerful

  • +

    powered by USB

  • +

    doddle to connect

  • +

    sounds decent for the money.


  • -

    Predictably, treble lacks refinement

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Here's a funny looking thing. This is the second portable little sound cylinder Altec Lansing has offered to the world of MP3.

The Orbit M sports a standard 3.5mm audio connection; this one connects directly to a USB audio output.

The most obvious benefit for us here is that it draws all its necessary power from USB, so there's no need for batteries or mains power, which is handy for a portable device or laptop.

There's not much else to it, aside from pointing out it's reasonably well made and comes with a small kickstand for propping it up.

It costs £40. Let's just flag that up once more for those of you who breezed over the top of the review.

Decent sound quality
And yes it's a little bright and it's a little less organised in the treble than we'd like; but the more we listen to the Orbit USB, the more we think it sounds surprisingly decent.

Lob it in your bag to take on holiday or take it in to the spare room with your laptop and you won't have to worry about running out of batteries.

Nor will you have to put up with your laptop speakers, of course.

Noticeably clearer, fuller and, hey, even musical, the Altec Lansing is a bit of a bargain for basic laptop listening.

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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