Chips Universal Wireless Helmet Audio by Outdoor Technology
What Outdoor Technology Says:
The Chips are a Bluetooth Wireless audio system for winter sports helmets. Connect them to your Bluetooth enabled device and drop them into any helmut with an audio liner. No more fumbling for your phone, no more cold hands. Welcome to an uncomplicated session on the mountain.
What We Say:
Mostly, the Chips Wireless audio system is just super cool. Gone are the days of wires threading from your jacket to your helmet, or as Outdoor Technology says, “no more fumbling for your phone, and no more cold hands”. It’s nearly true. The headset is compatible with newer helmets, which provide a “drop-in” pocket in the ear pads, however, we tested ours on a Salomon helmet — without an audio pocket — and still, performance was quite good. For under $20, an aftermarket drop-in audio-enabled liner is also available to fit your specific brand of helmet. It’s worth considering.
Helmet compatibility inconveniences aside, the Chips Universal Wireless Helmet Audio is a very clever invention. In addition to being wireless, you can easily change volume or tracks with your gloves still on by simply pushing one of the ear pads covering your ear. In the past, we have had to pull off our gloves to find a little remote on a pair of ear buds buried in our garments, or something equally awkward. With Chips, you tap or hold either of the big buttons on your ears and you’re in business. Remembering which side to press for each function is tricky at first, but with a little practice, the basics become quite intuitive. There are numerous functions available, including a currently undocumented (but handy) feature for accessing Siri on the iPhone. (Once you access Siri, it’s up to you to get her to perform as you want her to!).
As for phone services: if a call registers while audio is in use, you can answer it with the built-in microphone and a touch to the ear. We didn’t fully test this feature without the helmet audio liner, but we imagine the outgoing audio quality on calls wouldn’t be great with the Chips nested inside the pads, especially if it’s windy outside. (But, maybe that’s beside the point, as we hope there’ll be tons of wind and no one from work will be trying to call you during a session anyway). The audio quality of music and calls coming in from the outside — even through our older ear pads– was great. We also like that you can hear ambient sounds in the field far more clearly than with traditional ear buds.
Website URL: www.outdoortechnology.com