Altec Lansing Orbit USB Stereo speakers deliver audio on the go

If you don’t want to settle for the speakers in your laptop, but do want something that is easy to pack, then a new speaker product from Altec Lansing may be just what you need. The Orbit USB Stereo builds off the success of their Orbit MP3 speaker (my first ever review on Gadling) but moves up from a single speaker to stereo speakers.

The design is pretty slick – the speakers attach to each other, and the USB and audio cord stores inside the rear end of each speaker.

Sound from the Orbit USB Stereo is actually quite impressive — and certainly much better than you’d expect from something this compact. Because the speakers use a generic USB audio system, you don’t need any drivers either, simply plug them in and you are good to go.

While they are noticeably larger than a pair of headphones, once combined, the package really isn’t that big – and I had no problem finding a spot for them in my laptop backpack. Since they are USB powered, you don’t need to carry a power adapter or batteries.

The new Altec Lansing Orbit MP3 Stereo is available (and in stock) today for just $49.95.


Gadling bonus daily deal – 25% off the Altec-Lansing IMT320 iPhone speaker

If you read our recent review of the Altec-Lansing IMT320 iPhone speaker, you may want to keep reading – because this is your chance to order one with a nice discount. This compact battery powered speaker dock provides amazing audio from a very well designed package. The speaker works with almost any Apple player with a dock connector or player with a regular headphone jack.

In the review, we mentioned that the speaker retails for $79.95 – but through this daily deal, we’ve teamed up with Altec-Lansing to offer the IMT320 special edition for 25% off!

To order, simply head on over to the product page, add one to your cart, and apply promotion code AMER10100001OFF.

The deal is valid between October 26 and October 31, and only on the green version of the IMT320.

Review – Altec Lansing iMT320 inMotion Compact iPod/iPhone speaker

The Altec Lansing brand name has been around the world of iPod speaker docks since they produced the very first one back in 2003. In recent years, Altec Lansing kept churning out new and improved versions of their speaker docks – from premium versions to docks that brought us back to the boom box era.

Their latest creation is the inMotion Compact iMT320 – a more classically style dock. The iMT320 is a bit of a no-frills dock – it features a dock connector, protective cover/stand, power and volume controls and a line in jack. In the box of the iMT320 is an AC adapter, a pair of dock adapters and a short manual. Unlike its more expensive family members, this one does not come with a remote, line in cable or rechargeable batteries. This basic setup does mean the price can be kept to a minimum. Thankfully, Altec Lansing managed to keep the most important part of this speaker untouched – its sound quality.

Put simply – the audio quality from this speaker is amazing. Volume is great, with no distortion until you crank it up to “max”. Altec Lansing clearly used their experience from previous docks to ensure this dock would sound as good as possible. The end result is a speaker you can use on your desk for some peaceful tunes, or to fill a large room with party music. Under the main speakers are two bass ports – and with bass heavy music, you really hear these doing their job.

The protective (faux leather) cover unfolds from the front to form a stand on the back – slotting into a small opening and propping it up at a nice angle.

With a set of 4 AA batteries installed, the iMT320 weighs in at 5.5 ounces and measures 9.5″ (W) x 1.8″ (D) x 4.7″ (H). These dimensions put it around the largest a travel speaker could get, without having to resort to single speakers like the much smaller Altec Lansing Orbit series.

Controls are very basic – volume and power. To control your music, you’ll need to use the screen or buttons on your player. Thankfully, the iMT320 will charge your docked player when on battery power and on AC power. Of course, devices plugged into the AUX jack won’t be powered by the dock.

At $79.95, the inMotion iMT320 is priced well within range of similar docks – and since its audio is well above average, you do get very good value for money. Ideally, I’d have preferred to see the unit include a rechargeable battery, but when you need to keep prices low, you obviously have to sacrifice somewhere.

All in all a very well designed and good sounding speaker – with the perfect dimensions for making it a great travel companion. To learn more about the Altec Lansing inMotion Compact iMT320, head on over to its product page. Also, be sure to check back later this week for a change to win one of these speakers!


Gadling gear review – Altec Lansing iMT800 MIX – the boombox is back!

The year is 1984 – you put on your backpack, fill your pockets with twenty bucks worth of D cell’s, and grab a couple of your best Duran Duran and Culture Club tapes off the dresser. As you leave on your trip, you carry your Panasonic Boombox to the car, ready to use it while walking down the street at your destination – because that is what cool people do.

It may have been years since anyone traveled with a Boombox, let alone had anything that required tapes, but portable audio is more alive than ever. Some people may travel with a portable speaker, but others may be in need of something with a little more “oomph”.

The Altec Lansing iMT800 “MIX” Boombox is the boombox from the 80’s – reinvented. The MIX has some of that great 80’s styling, combined with the features you’d expect from a current generation music accessory.

At first glance, it is hard to not notice the massive speakers on the front and side of the unit. In the middle is an iPod dock and a display, and on the top are controls and 2 additional inputs.
The MIX comes with the usual assortment of iPod docking adapters, making it compatible with any iPod, iPod Touch or iPhone with a dock connector. Once inserted into the MIX, a metal bracket slides down over your player, keeping it in place, and preventing it from falling out.

Like the old Boomboxes from the 80’s, the MIX also takes a huge stash of D cell batteries – 8 in total. They’ll keep the unit running for about 30 hours (manufacturer rating).

When at home, or in a hotel, the unit can also operate off the included AC adapter. I would have preferred to see the AC adapter built into the unit, but that would have pushed its weight to the max.

On the front and top of the MIX are carrying handles – they are not just for decoration, as they really are strong enough to hold the unit with. This means you can actually use the Altec Lansing iMT800 MIX as a shoulder carried boombox, listening to Van Halen playing off your 32GB iPhone 3GS. Sure, you’ll look like a bit of a dork, but that probably has more to do with your taste in music. On the rear of the MIX is the AC jack and FM antenna.

The MIX offers 4 different music sources – iPod/iPhone, FM Radio and 2 AUX inputs. The unit comes with 2 3.5mm cables, which means you can hook up a non-Apple device like a Zune or a Blackberry.

The display on the front of the MIX is very cool – it can be programmed with your own personal startup message, and displays what kind of iPod is inserted. It also shows the track name when you play stuff off the iPod dock. The display also shows RDS information from any compatible radio station you are tuned in to.

Controlling the MIX is simple – the top has just 4 buttons and a dial. Included with the unit is a wireless remote control. This remote can control the power, source, iPod track, volume and radio preset. It has a slick carabiner clip on the top, should you feel the urge to clip it to your pants.

Now on to the most important part of the product – the audio. If you were planning to use the MIX to take care of the music at your next party, you will not be disappointed. Not only does it sound fantastic, it can be cranked up to MAX to produce some absolutely mind blowing volume, without any distortion.

The integrated equalizer is great – in basic mode, it lets you control bass and treble, and if you hold down the EQ button along with the track forward/back buttons at the same time, you enter a more advanced 7 band EQ mode.

All joking aside, I’m sure not many of you will seriously be considering purchasing one of these to carry around on your shoulders on your next trip. At 10.1lbs (without batteries), it’ll take up a considerable amount of your baggage allowance. That said – it is the perfect companion for a road trip or a day at the beach.

The iMT800 MIX retails for $299.95, which is about $100 cheaper than a comparable portable system.

There are a couple of minor things I would have wanted to see on the unit – The iPod control is very basic, you can only play/pause and skip tracks. At this price point, a full iPod control would have been nicer. I would have also liked to see a video output on the unit. Other than those minor gripes, I’m very impressed with the iMT800. Sound is fantastic and I love the looks – this thing really screams “loud”.

The iMT800 MIX Digital Boombox is available directly from Altec Lansing or as a pre-order from

Do more with your mobile phone – 10 great mobile accessories

Welcome to the “summer edition” of ten great accessories for your phone. In this lineup, you’ll find everything from the coolest stereo Bluetooth headphones to the latest in mobile printing technology.

You won’t find any of these awesome products at the local mall kiosk, and it is needless to say that the list is a bit of a geek dream. That said – with a little bit of luck, there is bound to be something cool for everyone in the lineup.

Dell Wasabi

The Dell Wasabi is without a doubt one of the wackier products in this lineup – this small product is not the latest in flavor enhancers, but is actually a state of the art inkless mobile printer. The Wasabi uses technology called ZINK to print photos on self adhesive paper about two by three inches.

The photos can be sent to the printer using Bluetooth, or from a digital camera using Photobridge over USB.

The prints are vibrant, expensive and fairly useless. But despite its total uselessness, I can’t help but love this little printer. Being able to print stuff off your mobile phone is just a ton of fun. I do recommend keeping it away from your kids, because you’ll be ordering more paper in about 20 minutes once they get a hold of it.

PRO’S: Fun, decent print quality
CON’S: Limited use, expensive paper, slow printing, no iPhone support

Price: $79 + $12 per 24 sheets of paper

Blueant Q1 headset

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could talk to your Bluetooth headset? Instead of fumbling for your handset, or trying to use the voice recognition in your phone, you can simply tell the headset what you want.

The Blueant Q1 uses simple commands to dial numbers, check its battery life or even ask it “what can I say?”. The headset looks fantastic, has dual microphones with voice isolation and up to 100 hours standby time. The best part of the headset is that you can update its firmware using your PC, enabling it to be enhanced with new features or bug fixes.

PRO’S: Excellent audio, very reliable voice recognition
CON’S: Charging requires a proprietary cable, could have benefited from Micro or MiniUSB. Complicated speed-dial programming procedure

Price: $129.99
Where: AT&T and Sprint retail stores.

Altec Lansing Orbit MP3 portable speaker

The speaker in your phone may be suitable for some hand free conversations, but it’ll never provide the kind of sound you need for room filling tunes. The Altec Lansing iM207 Orbit MP3is a battery powered, and highly portable speaker capable of producing an amazing amount of sound from such a small package.

PRO’S: Awesome sound quality, compact, long battery life
CON’S: Single speaker/mono

Price: $39.95

Sony Ericsson Bluetooth Watch

The Dell Wasabi printer gets some company in the weird and wacky department with the Sony Ericsson Bluetooth watch. This stylish watch communicates with a compatible Sony Ericsson phone to display incoming calls, messages and more. The watch is rechargeable and has a vibrating alert.

The “only Sony Ericsson phones” limitation is easily bypassed thanks to several applications that bring compatibility to Windows Mobile and Blackberry phones.

PRO’S: Instant access to incoming calls and messages, good battery life, awesome retro/geeky look
CON’S: Operation on non-Sony Ericsson phones requires additional software

Price: $349

Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 stereo headphones

The Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 Bluetooth stereo headphones are an absolute marvel of technology. Unlike other headsets that rely on bulky electronics, the HBH-IS800 houses everything right inside the tiny earbuds.

PRO’S: Tiny, good audio quality on phone calls
CON’S: Short battery life, no track forward/back buttons, earpiece heats up because of integrated electronics

Price: $199.99

iPhone zoom lens

There is no denying that the camera in the iPhone won’t be replacing your regular camera any time soon. Even the new iPhone 3GS only reaches 3.2 megapixels. None of the current models provide a zoom lens (at least not a real one), so this 6X optical zoom lens for the iPhone may be just what you need. That is, if “what you need” is another useless gadget.

PRO’S: You may be able to make the occasional decent looking zoomed photo
CON’S: You, your phone and anyone around you will look like a dork

Price: $19.95

A new smartphone

Why bother outfitting your 5 year old phone with new accessories when you could be out shopping for a new smartphone! Prices of smartphones are at an all time low, and even the most advanced models sell for under $200.

PRO’S: Newest features, fastest web access
CON’S: May require a contract renewal and addition of a data plan

Price: Under $200
Where: Your favorite mobile phone operator

odyGuardz device protection

If you have a really sleek (smart)phone, the last thing you want to do with it is wrap it up in a case or jacket. BodyGuardz are a fantastic protection method that leave your phone looking cool.

The product is made of military grade plastic film, and is cut to size for each specific phone model. Applying the film is a little tricky, but application is made easier thanks to a small sprayer containing application liquid. By moistening the plastic film, any minor mistakes can easily be corrected. Once installed, your phone gains a bit of grip from the film, and is scratch resistant from almost every angle.

PRO’S: Excellent protection, without spoiling the looks of your phone, affordable
CON’S: Installing takes a little practice.

Price: From $14.95

Tekkeon TekCharge MP1550 and MP1800 mobile chargers

Tekkeon chargers provide backup power for your phone in a compact package. Their 2 most popular backup power products are the MP1550 and the MP1800. The MP1550 provides power off rechargeable AA batteries (user supplied).

The MP1800 has an integrated Li-Ion battery pack, and adds a handy LED flashlight. Each unit charges off USB, so you can fill it up using your PC, laptop or any USB wall or car adapter. Output power comes out of a regular USB jack.

Both chargers come with a carrying tote and an assortment of charging tips.

PRO’S: Backup power for your phone, enough for 1-2 full charges, easy recharging
CON’S: None

Price: From $24.95

Arkon phone mount

By now, most readers have hopefully invested in some form of hands-free communication for in their vehicle. Of course, that still leaves the issue of a loose phone lying on the dashboard or center console. This is where the device mounts from Arkon can help – these mounts are available for virtually ever phone on the market, and can be installed on the windshield, air vents, or any of about 10 other installation points.

PRO’S: Easy to install, available for almost every vehicle, PDA, phone, GPS unit or satellite radio.
CON’S: None

Price: From $19.95 for a mounting kit