by Rob Williams on April 25, 2005 in Speakers/Headphones
You think just because you have a Notebook PC, that you have to have poor sound? Altec Lansing disagrees, and they prove it with their XT1 Notebook Speaker set. Read on to see how they perform.
The speakers are incredibly compact, as you can see in the pictures. When I first showed a few friends the case that the speakers can be carried in, they originally thought that it was a CD carrying case. It’s *that* compact.
When you first hook up the speakers, you quickly realize that this is not your ordinary set of speakers. The whole package screams quality. You won’t see plastic cords running to your laptop, as all the cords, minus the expandable USB cable, are sleeved.
In the pictures above, you can see the sleeved cables I mentioned. It’s definitely a nice touch, as it adds class. You can also see on the right speaker, that there are three buttons, one for the power, and two others for the volume. It appears that the speaker is scratched or chafed, but it’s actually not. I have no idea why it appears so in the picture.
To install the speakers, you don’t need any software. As long as you have Windows 98SE or higher, or a Mac OS X or higher system, it will automatically set itself up and work. Since I primarily use Linux on my notebook, I wanted to make sure that the speakers worked there. There was no tinkering to be done at all.. I simply plugged in the speakers, and rebooted the system. SuSE automatically detected and installed it as a USB Audio device.
When you click the Power On/Power Off button, it does just that. When you use the Volume Up/Down buttons, they actually turn your Windows [If that's your OS] sound up and down. I would have preferred to see the sound control independent from Windows, for only a small reason. If you switch sound devices, it will keep the sound setting. So if you turn the speakers all the way down, you will have to turn it back up when you have a different output. Not a big issue, but it’s something I noticed.
You will see that there is another plug in the speaker. This is for Auxiliary use, and the connector you need comes with the XT1. This is your MP3 Player, DVD Player, Video Game system or anything else that’s compatible.
While this is a welcomed feature, it does have it’s fault. In order to use the sound for your MP3 Player for instance, you will still need to have your laptop or desktop computer turned on. Since the speakers can only be powered by a USB port, you cannot use them otherwise. In that instance, it would just make more sense to run the music off your laptop to save your MP3 players battery.