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You bring the speakers. Outdoor Technology's Adapt brings the Bluetooth.


Earlier this week I took a look at Outdoor Technology's Bluetooth-based Turtle Shell mountable speaker. After that review, the company invited me to take a look at their Adapt gadget.

For US$40, this teeny adapter transforms any speaker system or headset into a Bluetooth-powered audio solution. All you need is a standard 3.5mm port. The Adapt takes care of the rest.

Tired of weaving your headphone wires over your shoulder and into a backpack? Adapt takes care of that for you. Just plug into the device instead of your phone, and attach the adapter to your shirt.

It's perfect for anyone who exercises without pockets. Within seconds, my normal earphones became a mobile Bluetooth solution. I tied up the excess cord, and went out for a lovely walk. It was lightweight, convenient and much simpler to use than a direct iPhone connection.

That phone, as usual, sat in my backpack. I felt as if I were using my nano instead of the far less walker-friendly iPhone.

I then took the Adapt home and tested it out on my home TV and my husband's speaker system. In both cases, it offered convenient plug-and-play conversion, which was helped, I admit, by the fact that I had long since adapted both systems to use 3.5mm audio input.

So what are the downsides? I did encounter tiny sync glitches -- even when I was in close proximity to the Bluetooth source. They weren't frequent, but after an hour of listening, they did happen three or four times.

Second, the unit's battery functions for about six to eight hours, so you do need to charge it after use. It's not really meant as a permanent installation feature. If your car has a built-in 3.5mm plug adapter, just attach the Adapt at the start of the trip, but remember to take it with you when you arrive back home. Charging is easy -- just connect to USB.

The physical feel of the unit was really rugged. It felt like it would stand up to lots of sweaty walking use. The clip worried me a little -- it's a fixed "U" curve rather than a spring-based clip like you find on the nano -- but it stayed on just fine during my testing. Joggers and runners may want to take more care in that department.

In the end, the $40 price tag isn't cheap but the Adapt seems to offer good value as a device and it's a really clever way to flexibly add Bluetooth to your listening arsenal without being tied to a single output system. The Adapt ships in black, pink and aqua.

One last thing: I can't help but wonder if the Adapt's logo was inspired by a certain mythological creature who supposedly inhabits North America's woods.

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