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Second Orbit: Altec Lansing's new iPod speaker

Altec Lansing has redesigned its budget portable iPod speaker, the Orbit, and christened it the Orbit MP3 iM237.

Altec Lansing

It's the little iPod speaker that could. The Orbit, Altec Lansing's inexpensive mobile iPod speaker has a new design and new name: The Orbit MP3 iM237. We like it better than the previous model.

This single speaker, which is about the size of two hockey pucks stacked on top of each other, runs on three AAA batteries for about 24 hours and has a hideaway cord that plugs into the headphone jack on just about any MP3 player, including all the iPods and iPhones, as well as laptops and portable DVD players. The $39.95 speaker ships with a protective carrying case (with a convenient belt-clip carabiner) and a lanyard to strap around your wrist (I guess that's what it's for).

The understated iM237 now features a power button that lights when the speaker is on. On the earlier model, some people complained that without a light it was easy to forget that the unit was on and the batteries would run down. Doh!

As one might expect from a speaker this small, it doesn't sound all that good. But it also doesn't sound terrible, which is about all you can ask. We think it's worth more like $20 (the older Orbit sells for $30), but at $40, it's not exactly expensive.

Expect the new Orbit in stores soon. What do you guys think? Is it worth buying?