Laptop speakers can be difficult to take on the road; they are often bulky and get tangled up in a mess of wires when you throw them in a bag. Altec Lansing's Orbit USB Stereo speakers offer a neater alternative. Before packing the speakers, you can stow the cord and twist them together to form one tube. The 1-watt speakers, each of which weighs just over half a pound and measures 2.75 inches wide and 4.75 inches long, connect to a laptop, netbook, or desktop computer with a USB cord (no batteries required). They sit on retractable metal stands that you can adjust to aim the sound. During our test, sound quality was average. Intricate indie rock songs sounded loud and distinct on the speakers, but the bass was almost nonexistent. Also, the speakers don't work with portable MP3 players or smartphones. Cost: $50