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Listen! You'll Want This New Plug-in Bluetooth

Speaker For Podcasts. An Ears-All-In Review.


As I write this, I’m listening to the blood-curdling, true story of a London serial killer who got away with murder for 30 years and was never prosecuted for his crimes despite confessing to them. The podcast is called The Nobody Zone and it’s produced by RTE, Ireland’s national broadcasting service. The production quality is outstanding and I imagine I’m getting the same thrill as listeners of the 1930s did tuning into weekly radio dramas. One by-product of the pandemic is that more of us are getting our entertainment at home. Some 55 percent of Americans listen to at least one podcast per week and I now count myself among them thanks to one small device that makes listening irresistible. The Newport Bluetooth wireless speaker is a two-inch speaker that plugs into an electrical outlet. That’s really appealing because there isn’t much room on my desk for a stand-alone speaker. And when I move it into the kitchen for meal preparation, I don’t have to free up precious counter space. Plus I don’t have to worry about the clutter of charging cables for battery-operated Bluetooth speakers. (The green angle: no lithium batteries.) For all intents and purposes, the Newport, made by an Orange County, California company cleverly called OC Acoustic, virtually disappears. Admittedly, I was a little dubious at first as to how good the sound would be coming from a two-inch speaker. But I was pleasantly surprised by the richness and clarity of the audio experience. Right now, I feel like I’m in a London police station even though I’m an ocean away. Midway through Episode 1 of The Nobody Zone, I pause to indulge a musical earworm. The Newport is very good for casual listening and there is even a “party mode” that lets you string together as many as 50 speakers working off a single stream. That’s probably overkill as I can’t imagine finding 50 electric outlets within Bluetooth transmitting range but if someone does manage it, I hope I’m invited to the party. Still, I can see having two pretty easily: one in black for the home office and one in white for the kitchen. The Newport also is available in orange/black and light grey/white color combinations. Okay, four is not out of the question, especially when the rest of my family hops on board the Newport band wagon. One small touch that I like: audible confirmation when the Newport is turned on or off. So now I’m hooked. I’m told podcasts are a favorite of multi-taskers but I’m not so sure. An old cassette tape of an interview with the murder suspect has turned up and I’m all ears. On to Episode 2. $69.95

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