Review: CoolStream BTS 201 Portable Bluetooth Speaker with USB/SD reader

If you are a college student with limited space in the dorm room, need a very small audio system to add some sound to your bedroom, want to enjoy a romantic dinner in the backyard with full setup including candles and music or just looking for a very portable sound solution for a family trip, you might need to look into purchasing a Bluetooth portable speaker to complement your phone / tablet. We recently received for review the CoolStream BTS201 Portable Bluetooth Speaker produced by Exeter Science & Entertainment and we put it through the tests for the last several days. The results and our impressions are documented in the present review.

Unpacking


The CoolStream BTS201 comes in a box barely larger than the speaker itself which additional contains the USB charger cable, an audio jack cable to connect the speaker directly to a sound source that doesn’t have a Bluetooth adapter and the instruction manual.

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Design and Functionality

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 The BTS201 is a compact, wireless (Bluetooth), portable speaker that can be also used as a speaker phone. Featuring a very elegant, streamlined design CoolStream BTS201 is at home anywhere you want to put it without negatively affecting aesthetics of the place. It can be used as an extension of your phone / tablet to add a significantly better sound, as a portable speaker with phone answering button or as a powered external speaker featuring an audio-in jack (cable included). The case is plastic, but feels solid, however it is a fingerprint magnet.

CoolStream also accept USB memory cards or full size SD cards (up to 32GB in size) through extension ports located in the back of the unit. The unit can be DC powered but also includes a 1000mA rechargeable battery which depending of the volume can offer up to 3-5 hours of high quality sound. The controls are located on top of the unit and include power, phone call pick-up, input mode (cycling between Bluetooth, USB, audio input jack and SD card and featuring a LED indicators), play/pause, next, previous and volume buttons. Located in the back of the unit are the DC power, audio in jack, USB and SD card connectors.

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Technical Specifications

  • Bluetooth version 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)
  • Bluetooth profiles supported: A2DP, AVRCP, and HFP
  • Fully charged battery supports 4 hours of music.
  • Charging time: 2 hours
  • Rechargeable lithium polymer battery 1000mAh
  • Output: Stereo sound, 2 speakers x 3 watts
  • Shipping weight: 1.25 pounds (570g)
  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 4 x 3.1 inches (185 x 78 x 100mm)
  • Driver unit: 52mm Neodymium magnet
  • Frequency response: 80Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 4 Ohms
  • Bluetooth operating range: up to 30 feet
  • Operating temperature: 15F – 100F
  • Memory card slot: SD card up to 32GB
  • USB: Standard USB Host 2.0

Testing

I paired the CoolStream BTS201 with a number of phones/tablets including Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy S4, iPad mini and every time the connection was made reliably in several seconds. There is no PIN code to be typed. The range is the Bluetooth default one of 30ft and inside this range I had absolutely no issues with regard to sound quality. The sound level is quite powerful considering the unit size with decent bass, quite impressive again for the size of the unit. It won’t replace your living room floor-standing speakers, but again, for the size the sound is incredible, much better than any tablet I have ever heard.

I also copied some mp3 songs on both an USB memory stick and a SD card. The unit was able to quickly play all the songs after you set the intended input using the M button located on top of the unit, picking the ones located inside the folders as well. Beside music, I tested the voice quality during a phone call which is impressive as well. Even better, the speaker has a call answering button on top eliminating the need to pick up the phone.

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Conclusion

CoolStream BTS201 is an excellent addition to my gadget collection, one that I actually find myself using more and more. With a superb design, flexible input set and powerful and rich sound, CoolStream BTS 201 is the best Bluetooth speaker I have seen up to date. Having a rechargeable battery and multiple inputs is proof of a thoughtful design and the unit earns our highest recommendation. You can buy CoolStream BTS201 now at Amazon for $59.99.

Pros

  • excellent sound
  • very good looking
  • multiple inputs (Bluetooth, audio in jack, full SD card, USB)
  • rechargeable battery included for 3-5 hours of playback

Cons

  • not a cons, just an improvement idea for the next version – an audio out jack to connect with receivers without Bluetooth would make me absolutely happy with this unit.

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