Earlier this year, I reviewed Outdoor Tech’s Orca wireless headphones. While there were a few drawbacks I nonetheless loved how they untethered me from my phone while enjoying the great outdoors. But what if you don’t want to spend money on new wireless headphones?
What if you have an old-school pair that you love or have invested mucho bucks on? Outdoor Tech’s got the answer: the ADAPT Bluetooth adapter. The adapter acts as a relay, allowing any audio component with a 3.5mm jack to be converted into a receiving wireless device.
I’ve been test-driving the ADAPT for two weeks and am impressed with both its simplicity and ingenuity. Pairing the unit with my Samsung and Blackberry phones was a cinch and the fun was just getting started.
[What’s in the box]
First I experimented with my go-to Skullcandy earbuds. I’ve yet to find a pair of earbuds that fit better so I was thrilled that the ADAPT let them go totally wireless. Audio steaming from the phone was clear and for the most part uninterrupted.
The device has a range of up to 30 feet and I tested this to the limit, abandoning my phone in a locker during workouts at the gym, leaving it at the bottom of my backpack on a hike and at my desk while walking around the office.
I did experience a few clips and drop-outs however these were sporadic and the frequency was acceptable considering how far I was from my phone.
The raised buttons for controlling volume and toggling tracks are both easy to navigate and responsive. The larger, middle Multi-Function-Button (MFB) was confusing to use at first. As the name suggests, it serves as a multi-tasking call button and works in conjunction with your phone’s voice command features.
Use the MFB to pause, answer, reject and dial calls. After several uses you’ll get familiar with how many clicks will activate each function as well as how long to depress the button.
This leads to another beautiful design feature: built-in microphones on both sides. You can perform all call functions from any attached ear bud or head phone. At home, I enjoy using my cushioned over-the-ear headphones to listen to music without disturbing the neighbours.
While plugged into the ADAPT, I can roam the house while leaving my phone in the bedroom and not worry about missing a call.
The versatility doesn’t end there. Insert the ADAPT into the 3.5mm jack of your stereo at home or in your car (via the AUX-IN plug) et voilà: instant wireless speakers or speaker phone! Callers I conversed with said the audio was crisp and understandable.
For those who don’t want to spend extra on a hands-free device for the car, the ADAPT is a great option. The unit boasts five to six hours of usage on a single charge of its lithium polymer battery. This proved accurate and was convenient for wirelessly streaming music through my home speakers.
If you own a Bluetooth-compatible TV or laptop, pair it with the device and binge-watch your favorite shows without disturbing anyone.
Like all quality Outdoor Tech products, the ADAPT is tiny but mighty and built to play rough. Slightly larger than a bottle cap, the rugged exterior is water-resistant.
The convenient U-clip easily attaches to anything with a lip: pockets, shirts, belt loops and backpacks.
– Because the clip is not spring-loaded, it may jostle off during a vigorous sprint
– The ADAPT has a proprietary charging port instead of a universal micro-USB port
A consideration for the next model would be to standardize the port to avoid having to carry the specialized charging cable.
Competitors to the ADAPT that offer similar functionality include the BlueAnt Ribbon and the Jumbl Adapter. However, the BlueAnt costs a bit more and the Jumbl is not as ruggedized.
Overall, the ADAPT is a fantastic product at a modest $40. This tiny self-contained device transforms any wired audio component into a wireless one and adds microphone capabilities.
The unit would make a thoughtful gift for anyone attached to their beloved wired audio equipment. Enjoy those gadgets with a new level of wireless freedom — in orange, blue, yellow and black.
Photos by Cora Li and Outdoor Tech.