Altec Lansing VS2720 review
Altec Lansing's VS2720 is a portable set of 2.0 speakers with a simple yet refined design. They won't look out of place next to a television or PC monitor, but their compact size makes them an excellent companion for a laptop.
Each speaker is fairly light, so you should have no trouble taking them on the move. They are larger than most speaker sets designed specifically for laptops, but the improvement in sound quality makes up for this. As a replacement for a set of integrated speakers, the VS2720 makes a huge difference. All our test tracks sounded very clear and well-rounded, with none of the distortion we’ve come to expect from playing music at high volume on a laptop. Given their size, even at maximum volume they are only loud enough to fill a small-sized room.
Classical and acoustic tracks had clean, if slightly weak high notes, and a strong mid-range. We were also pleasantly surprised with the amount of bass. Our heavier tracks sounded reasonably powerful, each speaker producing bass notes that would be inaudible if played through a laptop’s speakers. Without a dedicated subwoofer however, the bass was hardly room-shaking. When we tried using the tone control to increase the bass, it simply made our test tracks sound muffled. When we sat them side by side with a 2.1 system, it was clear the lack of bass seriously hampered sound quality.
Connectivity is reasonable for a 2.0 system. A single 1.9m captive 3.5mm cable connects the speakers to a PC or laptop, but there's also a 3.5mm input for attaching an MP3 player or other device. For more personal listening, a headphone jack is on the right speaker next to the volume and tone controls. A mute button effectively turns the set off, as when we activated it they stopped drawing mains power. Both speakers are permanently tethered together, so you can't extend the 1.3m cable distance between them.
While they are a definite improvement over a laptop, sound quality wasn’t as impressive as some of the more expensive 2.0 sets we’ve seen, and certainly not an alternative to having a 2.1 system with a dedicated subwoofer, both in sound quality and volume. Unless you use your laptop exclusively to listen to music and watch films, there’s little reason to buy the VS2720 over a more rounded 2.1 or surround sound set, such as the Trust Wave 2.1 set.
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