New totally wireless Chips Ultra speakers are coming to ski helmets
Outdoor Tech is showing wire-free versions of its popular Chips Bluetooth helmet speakers at CES.
David CarnoyExecutive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
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Outdoor Tech's slim Chips are among the more popular speakers you can integrate into your ski helmet, giving you built-in headphones. They currently come in an inexpensive wired version and a more expensive Bluetooth version. And this fall, the company is scheduled to ship the new Chips Ultra, a new model that leaves off the cord and has two independent earpieces. It'll cost $200. There's no word yet on international pricing, but $200 converts to about £136 or AU$255.
I talked to Outdoor Tech CEO Charlie Gugliuzza, who'd just received a few early Chips Ultra units from the company's Chinese factory, and was showing them at CES. He says the Chips Ultra have new drivers and will sound better than the wireless Chips 2.0, which I don't think sound all that great (the bass is a little thin). They'll come with a charging base that you drop the Chips into.
There are loads of totally wireless in-ear headphones hitting the market but only a handful of on-ear style cord-free earpieces that hook onto your ears. This type of totally wireless design would seem to make sense for helmet integration, but I'll see how well the Chips Ultra perform and sound as soon as I get my hands on a review sample later this year.