Hey folks, Valkor here with a dual review of two speakers from the company Altec Lansing. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with Altec’s peeps at previous CES events, plus I’ve owned a couple of their speakers for PC and home media use. From what I’ve seen and from what I’ve owned I’ve never doubted the quality of Altec’s products, till now. That’s only half true since the first product, Altec’s Orbit iM237 speaker is fantastic, while the PC SoundBar leaves much to be desired. Read on.
First up is the iM237. You wanna talk simple AND effective? Then you need look no further than the Orbit iM237. This little speaker packs a mighty punch giving you great sound no matter what you use. I attached it to my PSP, laptop, and mPlayer from IRiver, and in all three cases the Orbit did its job. It’s not as great as the MM28, which is by far one of the best I’ve heard, but the Orbit definitely blows away my Creative travel speaker. The Orbit does beat the MM28 in portability; included is a travel pouch that you can clip to your hip or travel bag of preference. There are no other buttons on the device, except power and that’s it. Volume control and any equalization is handled by the device, which works perfectly for me. Sometimes when you have two conflicting volumes to deal with, you get distortion. In this case, however the PC SoundBar, which on the box states that it has immersive sound… I beg to differ. This particular soundbar was meant for your PC with flat panel monitors as it tucks just underneath. You won’t have to deal with any wires stretching across your desk and it makes everything look neater. While agree it works perfect in design, it doesn’t do well in execution.
Let’s get on with the overall review.
Again the Orbit speaker sounds great, looks great, and as for portability it works. Honestly I was put off by the design at first glance, from the images I received. However here in the cave, I’m impressed. Same goes for the SoundBar; it looks good and it’s great to have a soundbar for PC speakers rather than having wires hooked everywhere. We’re talking fewer tangles, and less desk clutter.
I don’t have anything bad for the Orbit iM237, but for the SoundBar… well the sound is very flat. Again right on the box it states “Immersive sound” and I have Creative’s X-Fi speakers powering the main Val-Cave PC. Why? Because it’s supposed to have 2.1 sound; two speakers and a sub woofer, however I don’t hear a sub woofer at ll coming from the soundbar. And that’s why everything sounds flat, which goes for gaming, music, and movies. There’s just no life.
Though the PC Soundbar doesn’t score big points with me, I still have faith in Altec Lansing because I’ve seen some really impressive speakers in their line-up and I can’t wait for CES 2009 to see what they have in store. For now if you’re looking for a simple, portable speaker then look no further than the Orbit iM237 (retail: $29.95). Out of 5 stars I give it a 4. And as for the PC SoundBar (retail: $79.95), again only if you’re just the quick email, casual net surfer, would you want this speaker. For active, heavy users look elsewhere. Out of 5 stars I give it a 2, and that’s because I love the design.