The problem I find with laptops is that unless it is a high budget laptop, the sound is quite tiny, and sometimes you need a speaker that will add a bit of oomph, but not a ridiculous large speaker that takes up all the space on your desk.
Just to note that the only difference between this Lite version and the original version is that its silver, where as the original is black. Plus its outer cover is plastic and not metal. Apart from that they are identical.
In terms of design it is pretty cool. To be honest I didn't buy this for the design, but its always nice as an added bonus. It has the Altec lansing logo just as small text which is good as it isn't overpowering. I guess the silver colour is pretty cool, but personally I actually prefer the black colour more, as it seems more in place. My computer is black, the screen is black, the speakers are back, the laptop is black, hence maybe I should have bought the original version of this with it also being black.
They do feel quite sturdy which is always a good thing, and the usb cable isn't too thing. For me the worst thing is where the wires are badly put together and they fall apart in no time at all. This should not be the case here.
For such a small speaker, it does pack a punch, but this should be no surprise to any of you that have portable speakers, I recently did a review on a portable MP3 speaker for the 3.5mm ports, and remarked then at how loud these babies could go. One thing to mention is that there is no volume button. This isn't a surprise though for a portable speaker. If you want to adjust the volume, then just do this through the volume tab on your computer or through the media player. This is suitable for small to medium sized rooms. If you have a large room, then definitely think twice before purchasing this. You would need a proper set of speakers, ideally with a sub for that.
In terms of the pure quality of the sound, I think it is decent, maybe not quite as good as I expected, but there is decent bass which is nice, and the trebles are good, although on the mid range it doesn't quite go loud enough, so I guess this is more suitable to music which uses bass. Bare in mind this is a mono speaker and not stereo which takes the edge off a little.
The only issue I found with the sound, is that when you put the volume louder, there is a small distortion but it is noticeable. For me that is the real way to test the quality of speakers. The louder the music goes, if your speaker can handle it, then it is made of the tough stuff and is usually a keeper. Luckily I generally don't go too loud here so am ok, but it is a point that had to be mentioned.
The great thing with these smaller more compact devices, is that you don't need a power adapter to power them like a bit set of speakers. This is similar to smaller external hard drives, the pocket drives, where they can be powered through the computer. So you just connect this up to your computer through a USB port and away you go. As well as saving on power, this also saves space, with less wire leads needed.
What is great here is that they are so portable and you can take them about just like your laptop. Just put them away in your laptop bag, so when you are on the move you have your laptop and your speakers. You can position these anywhere you want, and I would suggest not keeping them too close to you. As the saying goes keep your friends close, but your enemies closer, and these are definitely your friends, so its best to keep at least a meter away.
This will set you back around £15 online from Amazon, although it isn't currently listed there, however is at Play.com for just under £20. Personally looking back I think this is too expensive, so advise you not to spend this much money, and get the x-mini which is cheaper, and better quality. Also bare in mind prices are always changing so check again if you are considering this.
To sum up I think these are pretty sweet and for sure they get the job done. Would I choose a different speaker if I had the chance to choose again, I probably would do. I didn't do enough research and there are better quality laptop portable speakers out there.
One thing that would have been nice, is if it also had a 3.5mm cable so that I could connect it a different way and to my phone or MP3 player, however this wasn't the reason I bought it so I can't really mark it down for that.
The sound quality like I said above, could be a little better, and overall this deserves at least three stars.