MP3s are so 2006. In the age of streaming everything, Spotify has all but replaced the concept of buying music...but your huge, Spotify-connected phone will never be the ideal workout companion that your old MP3 player was. Enter the Mighty Vibe: an iPod Shuffle-like device that can play your favorite Spotify playlists, offline and ultra-portable, anywhere you go.
The iPod Shuffle was always the perfect workout device: small, easy, and just enough storage to get you through a workout, without having to worry about shattering your phone or iPod on the concrete. I still use mine to this day. But sadly, its functionality feels a bit dated.
The $85 Mighty Vibe aims to fill this void. Take a look at any three of the colorful models (teal, coral, and black), and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just a slightly larger clone of the iPod Shuffle. But with the Shuffle discontinued—and so many people moving to Spotify as their main source of music—the Mighty Vibe is a more of a much-needed spiritual successor. Connect it to your phone via Bluetooth, and you can download your favorite Spotify playlists and podcasts for offline listening. And, since it has Bluetooth built-in, you can use your trusty wireless headphones—though it does have a headphone jack for us luddites out there. You will need a Spotify Premium account in order to sync to the Mighty Vibe, but if you’re interested in this product, there’s a good chance you already have that.
The Vibe has no screen, so you have to use your phone as an intermediary to sync playlists and manage your settings. After downloading the app for iOS or Android and creating an account, you’ll need to plug in the Vibe, wait for it to appear in the app, and connect it. You’ll also want to hook it up to your Wi-Fi network for faster downloading. From there, you can connect your Spotify account and your playlists will appear under the “+” tab.
Adding playlists is easy enough, and you can choose from playlists you’ve created as well as Spotify’s curated “Made for You” options (though Daily Mixes can’t be synced unless you save them as a new playlist first.). There’s also an option called “Stay Fresh” that will automatically refresh your playlists each day, as long as your Vibe is plugged in, ensuring you have the most up-to-date versions of your precious playlists. Mighty says the vibe can hold about 1,000 songs at “Normal” quality, though if you’re a stickler for audio fidelity, you may want to up that to “Extreme” in the settings.
Once you sync, you can plug in your headphones, hit the play button, and start jamming. The controls are incredibly familiar if you’ve ever used an Apple product, and the playlist button in the corner allows you to switch between your different mixes, with a robotic voice announcing the current playlist to you as you switch. Mighty boasts 5+ hours of battery life, which seems about right in my usage.
The Vibe isn’t without quirks, though. Turning it on takes about 30 seconds from button-push to music-listening, which is much longer than I’d have expected. The first few times I booted it up from a fully “off” state, I thought something was broken until my headphones chimed.
Similarly, the Vibe can be slow to connect to the mobile app and actually show up in the Bluetooth list, even when plugged in and charging as instructed. I also had to reconnect to Spotify every time I used the app—which only takes a moment, but it really should remember my account. It’s clear from looking at their support page that they’re still working out some kinks here and there—for example, Spotify accounts with special characters in the username won’t connect—but I was still able to get up and running after a little trial and error figuring out the best way to do things. (I couldn’t get my Bose SoundSport Wireless headphones to connect, either, but that’s likely the fault of the SoundSports themselves, which can be finicky—my other Bluetooth speakers worked just fine.)
Once you get all your music synced, the experience is pretty smooth. Apart from the slow startup and the annoying, constantly-flashing-LED during music playback, using the Vibe day-to-day is easy breezy. I don’t sync playlists too often, since I only use this type of device for my morning workouts, so the Vibe’s little inconveniences—most of which involve pairing and syncing—didn’t bother me much. If you plan on syncing new playlists every morning, it may get on your nerves a bit...but it’s also a small price to pay for a device that fills a much-needed void in the world of Spotify.