While portable speakers are becoming fairly common, the Astone Versa 200 distinguishes itself by having a truly compact design that can be easily carried. The Versa 200 has folding speakers, which when closed give the unit the petite dimensions of 104 x 62 x 62mm. Even the headphone cable has a dedicated groove which tucks it out of the way. This makes the Versa, which comes in six different colours, ideal for travelers who don't have much space in their bags but are keen on taking speakers for the music.
When unfolded, there's just enough room between the left and right speakers to fit most portable music players. The Versa 200 also comes with an attachment which can be used as a stand for an MP3 player -- this section attaches via slots to the front of the unit. Unfortunately, there's nowhere to attach this stand when the Versa 200 is closed, meaning you'll have to carry it separately.
The Versa 200 is compatible with any MP3 player with a 3.5mm headphone slot (or indeed any device with such a slot, like laptops or some PDAs). Simply plug in the Versa's attached 3.5mm plug into where you'd normally plug in the headphones and you're away.
As you'd expect from such a bargain unit, the Versa 200 comes with few bells and whistles. A power switch is the only control on the unit -- as there's no volume control, you'll have to rely on the volume controls on your attached MP3 device to control the loudness. It's also pretty hefty when it comes to power requirements, as it needs four AAA batteries to run -- Astone says you'll only get about eight hours of play from a fresh set. Thankfully, there is a power adaptor slot allowing you to connect the unit to the mains (if you have the right adaptor, that is).
For such small speakers, we managed to get a surprising amount of volume from the Versa 200. The unit boasts 2W of total power from its two 50mm speakers. While it does produce stereo sound, having the speakers so close together makes it somewhat hard to discern one speaker from the other. Sound quality is passable but not outstanding. Music from the Versa 200 can sound rather tinny and harsh. But at the end of the day it is compactness and portability that the Astone Versa 200 wants to be known far, and in that regard it delivers admirably.