REVIEW: COOLSTREAM BLUETOOTH RECEIVER FOR IPHONE DOCK AND 3.5mm JACK


What a difference a couple of  month make. Only two months ago we reviewed Exeter Science & Entertainment’s first foray in Bluetooth Adapters for iPhone docks, the CoolStream Bluetooth Receiver and meantime, the producer was hard at work producing and launching its successor, the CoolStream Duo. The new model improves upon the previous one by adding an embedded Lithium Polymer battery featuring up to 5 hours of life and an additional 3.5mm audio output jack to connect with devices that do not have a 30 pin iPhone / iPod port. We received a sample for review and we played with it for the last week or so. Read the full article for our impressions.

What’s in the Box

CoolStream Duo arrives packaged in a tiny box containing the device itself, a stereo 3.5mm jack audio cable and the instructions manual.

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Design and Functionality

Design wise, the new CoolStream Duo is a tiny black rounded corners rectangular box featuring the 30 pin iPhone/iPod adapter on the bottom and a status LED indicator, the battery On/Off button and the 3.5mm Audio Output Jack on the top. Dimensions wise, CoolStream Duo is slightly larger than its predecessor, no doubt to make space for the newly added battery. In my opinion, the new model feels more solid and has a better build quality than its predecessor.

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Once connected to an 30 pin iPhone / iPod dock, CoolStream Duo starts charging automatically and if you have never paired it before, it will start automatically in the pairing mode. No PIN code is required on your device while pairing.

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LED color Status

  • RED/BLUE  – Battery Charging
  • BLUE (steady) – Charging completed
  • BLUE quick flashing  – Bluetooth Pairing mode
  • BLUE slow flashing  – Bluetooth Paired

You can find CoolStream Duo’s User Manual in here.

While the previous model did a very good job adding Bluetooth capability to analog iPhone/iPod 30 pin docks, the CoolStream Duo greatly extends Bluetooth support to basically every device featuring a 3.5mm (the most popular) Audio Input Jack. Standalone functionality is also possible thanks to the new embedded battery with a life of approx 5 hours but it is very easy to use it continuously powering it with a cheap and nearly ubiquitous USB to 30 pin iPhone / iPod cable.

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Technical Specifications

  • Bluetooth receiver for 30 pin iPhone and iPod docking stations including Bose SoundDock, Portable SoundDock and SoundDock 10.
  • Built-in 3.5mm Auxiliary Jack allow for Compatibility with Sony and other Digital Docking Stations, Home Boomboxes and Car Stereos.
  • Rechargeable Battery for Easy Use with Portable Docks and Car Stereos.
  • Bluetooth 3.0 for No Pin Pairing and Automatic Power On
  • Stream Music from any Bluetooth enabled device including iPhone 5, iPad and Samsung Galaxy

Dimensions

  • Size (LWH): 2 inches, 0.38 inches, 1.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.48 ounces

Product Features

  • Battery Type: Lithium Polymer

Testing

My current iPod dock is actually a boombox iLive IBPD882B CD/DVD/iPhone Boombox with 7-Inch TFT Display and FM Radio and it is basically my favorite all in one to carry around camping, picnics, etc. With the newly added Bluetooth capability via the CoolStream Duo Bluetooth Receiver the Boom Box has become a Jack of all Trades.

iLive

 

Once the CoolStream Duo was placed in the 30 pin iPod dock, the Boombox recognized it instantly. The Bluetooth adapter also switched automatically in the pairing mode and my Galaxy 4 found it in a matter of seconds. A click later, my phone and the CoolStream Duo were paired and I was able to stream Pandora to my Boom Box…The joy of it 🙂

 

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While it is pointless to add a video or an audio recording in this article, the sound transferred was clear and rich. Although my Boom Box is nowhere near an audiophile device in terms of sound quality, my trusted Onkyo TX-NR809 combined with my Jamo speakers is a bit closer to that. CoolStream Duo adapter is flawless (as my hearing is concerned at least) in transferring the sound and it is a delight to use in its simplicity.

 

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Conclusion

The CoolStream Duo Bluetooth Receiver adds Bluetooth compatibility to virtually every audio device currently on the market today, starting with the obvious 30 pin capable iPhone/iPod docks and extending to Boom Box units, Audio Receivers, amplifiers and many cars. I even have some battery powered portable speakers with a 3.5mm input jack that I got for free from some conference and that works as well, although in this case the adapter is significantly more expensive than the speakers. The price is the same as for the previous model, the same $39 shipped bringing you additional battery for standalone usage and a 3.5mm Audio Out for wide compatibility. You can carry it around at parties, keep it in the car for instant streaming from your cell phone / tablet or use it at home to add Bluetooth to your receiver, boombox or portable speaker.

As the previous model,  for me CoolStgream is an instant winner further enhancing the functionality and lifespan of my iLive boombox). CoolStream Duo Bluetooth Receiver for iPhone Dock  also earns a “Highly Recommended” award by Review Horizon and is currently available at Amazon for $39.99.

Pros

  • Covers virtually every audio device including iPhone/iPod docks, Boom Boxes, cars, receivers, etc.
  • The embedded battery provides up to 5 hours of independent operation
  • Can be easily powered/charged using a cheap USB-30 pin iPhone cable
  • Reasonable priced
  • Works as advertised
  • Very easy to pair, no PIN required

Cons

  • not compatible with digital docks but many already feature a 3.5mm AUX Audio IN

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