December 1, 2015. I want my music and I want it wireless. I want it to be easy wherever I am. Especially when I’m on my treadmill. Because it helps make my exercise fly by in no time. Whether I’m walking or running, I’m having more fun when I’m doing it with the Rolling Stones. And I’m having the most fun when the Stones sound great. No strings attached.
Here are this year’s big but tiny winners. Better Cheaper breakthroughs in quality and value.
Outdoor Tech’s ORCAS Bluetooth Earbuds
The first in-ear product that I actually enjoy using. I’ve tried many others because I appreciate the convenience and simplicity of wireless while I’m running on the treadmill or out in the park. But these Orcas are the whole package.
They’re comfortable and secure. Their foam tips are made with a relatively high density foam that Outdoor Tech calls “Comply Memory”. You give them a little squeeze while you put them in, then they expand slightly to fill and seal your ear. So they feel completely secure – and they’re remarkably effective at blocking external sound. Which enhances your ability to hear the shockingly high quality sound they deliver. For $44.95. I like them five times Better than others costing five times more.
Yes, they’re sweat-proof. They have a built-in microphone if you want to use them as superior earbuds for your phone. And their Bluetooth connectivity has been rock solid. They’re great for listening to your TV when someone else in the room really doesn’t want to be listening. And they’re fantastic at home or at the gym when you’re walking or running along one of my wonderful Treadmill Trails.
Outdoor Tech makes equally great on-ear headphones they call Los Cabos. Won’t stay on while you run, but they’re fine for walking. $59.95.
Altec Lansing Mini H2O Bluetooth Speaker
This little speaker defies audio gravity. Fits in my pocket, weighs an ounce less than my iPhone 6. Puts out jaw-dropingly big sound with seriously punchy bass. Really. Where is all this sound coming from?
Well, it’s coming from this 4″ x 2″ x 1″ little blue speaker that’s waterproof and shockproof. Altec Lansing says it’s submersible. Sand proof and snow proof, too.
No, it’s not super high fidelity and it’s not going to replace your big sound system. But for a very simple and small solution to the portable sound problem, this delivers terrific sound. For $39.99 for now.
On your home treadmill. At the beach. On your desk with its hands-free speakerphone functionality. Rock on.