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I like outdoor activities as much as the next person, but I don't love having to bring along my phone just so I can listen to a podcast or Spotify playlist. Unfortunately, there aren't many alternatives. The Apple Watch now supports offline Spotify, but it's limited to just 50 songs. Some Garmin watches can do likewise, but they cost hundreds of dollars.
Here's another option: The Mighty Vibe. Closely resembling the beloved Apple iPod Shuffle of yesteryear, the Vibe is a little square audio player designed to clip onto your clothes. It can automatically (and wirelessly) sync with your favorite Amazon Music or Spotify podcasts and playlists. And once you've loaded it with tunes and shows, it works totally offline.
The unit has space for over 1,000 songs, according to Mighty, though I'm not sure what kind of dent podcasts put in that storage. Its battery is good for about five hours of play time, and it charges via a simple (but proprietary, so don't lose it) USB cord.
It's water- and sweat-resistant, weighs pretty much nothing, works with both wired and wireless headphones and comes in your choice of three colors: black, blue and red.
All good, right? Not all, no. The Vibe can be a pain to use, starting with the app that's used to configure Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and sync your playlists. It's not super-intuitive, and the process of syncing playlists — especially large ones — can be pretty slow.
Of course, as long as you plan ahead, that's not a deal breaker. But here's one that might be: The Vibe sells for $110, which might not seem bad compared with the aforementioned smartwatches. However, back in 2018 it was priced at $85 and sometimes went on sale for $70. What kind of tech product goes up in price?
This one, apparently: In the past year Mighty Audio has raised the price every three months or so. And $110 feels pretty steep for a single-use device.
Another oddity: I reached out to the company on Twitter and via e-mail and never got a response. Mighty's last press release was in 2019. That could mean nothing and it could mean the future looks dim. (Update: I did hear back from a company rep, who assures me Mighty Audio is alive and well. As for the price increases, they're the result of recent semiconductor shortages.)
Me, I always thought this player was a killer idea, and honestly I'm surprised Spotify (or Amazon) didn't just buy Mighty or release something similar.
In any case, flawed and pricey though it may be, the Mighty Vibe gets the job done. If you want freedom from your phone but not your music, check it out.
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