Outdoor Tech Orcas Review
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As an avid runner and cyclist of Colorado’s front range, I was stoked to have a chance to demo the Outdoor Tech Orcas Active Wireless Earbuds. Who hasn’t been moderately annoyed by countless headsets and wires while out on the trail? And who hasn’t cringed at the thought of digging out a cell phone at the bottom of a Camelbak to answer its inane buzzing? Although not completely bug-free, Outdoor Tech’s Orcas Wireless Earbuds promise to drop these problems like a flat-lander on Lookout Mountain!
Outdoor Tech Orcas Schematics
Out of the box, the Outdoor Tech Orcas come with a sweatproof Bluetooth headset with hands-free controls, a USB charging cable, three different sizes of earpads, two sizes of secure-fit ear cushions–aka “fins,” a carry pouch, stickers, and a manual. The fins are meant to help secure the earbuds in place, and possibly shut out some road noise, but I had no need for them as the buds fit pretty well on their own. The wire connecting the buds is flat, about 3-4 mm thick, and contains the hands-free controls and microphone for the phone. The USB charger fits cleverly into the outside of the earbud after twisting away the small door containing the Yeti logo.
Outdoor Tech Orcas Performance
As a part-time musician, as well as an endurance junkie, I am picky about earbuds. Most buds I have tried have sounded more like tin can telephones than professional in-ears, and I was getting ready to pounce all over this aspect of the review. However, as seen below, there is 30-degree-ish bend that allows the buds to pass around the tragus (think fleshy bulbous part on the front of you ear), and down further into the external ear canal. This made for a secure fit with great sound once they were pushed into place. At just over an inch long, the Outdoor Tech Orcas did stick out a little bit, but not obtrusively. The only time I bumped one out was taking off my bike helmet.
I had no problems with road or wind noise while running at all, and only beyond about 25 mph on the bike. The fins didn’t seem necessary or helpful in my ears. Volume and clarity were more than sufficient for everything from Bob Marley to Metallica to phone calls with my wife. The Outdoor Tech Orcas also worked great with my iPad while traveling. All hands-free functions worked as advertised, and everything worked seamlessly with my iPhone 5, and Siri, once paired. Battery life was never an issue, even on longer rides.
The only thing I found that I had to remember was that if you run or ride with the strap behind your neck, as I tend to do, the microphone for the phone will be behind your neck and not function very well. I also occasionally ran into some interference, but oddly only when my iPhone was in the back pocket of my bike jersey and I turned my head to my left; only infrequently so, and never while running. I’ll leave that one for the engineers.
Overall, I love these things and continue to use them daily. It’s great to have whatever I want to listen to only a finger-tap away without being to connected to a wire. While running with my wife, I simply paired to her phone and made her carry the extra weight since she always runs with a phone anyway. You never know when a critically important Facebook post will be necessary! The range was perfect until about 30 feet. Priced fairly at $99.95, and with $1 for every pair donated to Save The Whales, and some sweet Yeti stickers to boot, I think the Outdoor Tech Orcas are definitely worth a try. For more information, please visit the Outdoor Tech website.