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At last! This gadget lets you play streamed music without your phone

Mighty Audio’s streamer may look like an iPod Shuffle, but it’s a far cry from the olden days of dedicated music players. Now that CDs and iTunes downloads are taking a back seat to streaming music, services like Spotify are blowing up. There’s just one problem: when you’re on the go, you have to use your phone to stream Spotify. The Mighty aims to address that problem, and judging by the voracious response it has received at its Kickstarter campaign, people are hungry for it.

Yes, Mighty’s form factor looks like an iPod Shuffle crossed with Spotify, right down to the device’s lime-green playlist button. Heading off partnership questions at the pass, Mighty Audio isn’t an official Spotify partner. The device is considered an “offline device” that is allowed to store up to 3,333 songs. So no, unfortunately the Mighty won’t let listeners jump between Spotify radio stations, only between Spotify playlists.

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The Mighty Audio streamer’s ability to connect to Spotify is what makes it a trendsetter. You still need an Android or iOS device with the Spotify app to connect the streamer with a Spotify account and manage music, but once that’s done you can leave your smartphone behind. No more bulky expensive phablet with barely a minute of battery life bouncing around in your pocket, strapped to your arm, or mounted to your handlebars. Mighty is also kind to your data plan, and a relief for a phone’s storage capacity, too: music isn’t double-downloaded so tracks added to Mighty won’t take up space on your smartphone.

While Apple gets a lot of props for introducing tech concepts and devices to the hungry market, often another company comes along and fine-tunes the original idea. That’s the case with the Mighty streamer. Mighty offers what the iPod Shuffle could have if Apple hadn’t given it up: Bluetooth or WiFi song syncing, and a tough, water-resistant body. Mighty kept the 4GB of music storage (up from 2GB in response to backer requests) and audible playlist name announcements, as well as shuffle (within playlists).

The Mighty’s built-in Bluetooth chip opens up wireless connections for headphones or a speaker, but maintaining that connection will cut into its battery life. The company is aiming for 10 hours of playback without upping the device size, with the current stats at five hours of continuous playback. The development team says optimizing battery life is “the #1 priority.” Sounds good, Mighty Audio.

The Mighty music streamer is perfect for people that use a GPS-enabled smart watch but are stuck carrying a phone anyway because they still want music at their fingertips. Android Wear has a Spotify app, but it functions like a remote for your phone. That fact stopped this writer from getting a smartwatch – what’s the point if I still need to tote my phone along for tunes? But a small, lightweight music player that handles Spotify easily plus a GPS smart watch equals all the features needed to make a long ride or run fly by.

Did we mention that the Mighty’s price is actually fair, all things considered? It’s $79. There’s one small catch: you need to be a Spotify premium subscriber to be able to play music through the Mighty, and that’s $10 a month. Backers can expect to get their Mighty in November 2016.