If there is one thing I love about a company is its willingness to continuously improve their own products and since we did review Exeter Science & Entertainment’s previous versions of CoolStream Duo in the past, we jumped at the opportunity to review their new addition to the family. Just a bit of history here, we reviewed the original CoolStream Bluetooth Receiver just about a year ago, in October 2013, and the much improved CoolStream Bluetooth Receiver with battery and 3.5mm jack, just at the end of the last year. Now, about a year later, the CoolStream Duo model BTR102 adds the much needed Bluetooth Multipoint technology supporting two streaming sources paired at the same time, your smartphone and your tablet for example, so no more of that annoying pair/un-pair/pair again activity. No pin Bluetooth pairing is also supported making the initial connection as fast and headache free as humanly (or gadgetly possible).
What’s in the Box
The box contains the CoolStream Duo itself, a quick start guide and a 3.5mm jack stereo cable to connect the CoolStream Duo to the devices that do not have the old 30-pin Apple connector available. That means your receiver, your car (if it has an AUX connector), boombox, etc.
Design and Functionality
Just in case you haven’t read our previous take on CoolStream, CoolStream Duo is an attractive blue-black tiny box that has a unique mission – to transport sound digitally via Bluetooth from one device to another. As long as you have a Blueetooth enabled smart phone or tablet, you are in business. CoolStream Duo can output sound via its 3.5mm standard stereo jack or via its embedded 30-pin iPhone style connector (yes, that’s the old style) present in so many docks or boomboxes. Many receivers also have that port available, either via an included cable like my Pioneer, or via an optional accessory like my Onkyo. If not, you can just use the 3.5mm jack stereo cable and connect it to anything under the sun including your car. The 30-pin iPhone port is also used to charge CoolStream’s embedded battery which gives you around 5 hours of music playback. Perfect for most car trips.
Talking about functionality, we need to mention an important aspect of CoolStream Duo – it can only connect to analog docks. If your dock is digital (fewer, usually Sony brand) you are out of luck, unless it also have an AUX 3.5mm input. The manufacturer does a good job of keeping an updated list of compatible docks right here, and interestingly, a list of cars compatible with the gadget in here. My 2009 Honda Odyssey with NAV also has AUX input so they work quite well together.
CoolStream Duo User Manual can be found here.
• Bluetooth 3.0 supporting A2DP for stereo sound
• Bluetooth range up to 30 feet
• Rechargeable Lithium battery supports up to 5 hours play time
• 3.5mm Jack supports connection to home and car stereos with 3.5mm line-in jack
• 3.5mm jack supports connection to wired earphones
• Automatic detection of 5V or 12V power supply
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. Beside the Boombox, I paired the CoolStream Duo to my Samsung Galaxy smartphone and my new iPad Mini Retina tablet. I intend to get another unit for my parents so they can stream Pandora from their notebook to their receiver as well.
The initial pairing is a breeze – The first time you turn it on, CoolStream duo automatically enters into pairing mode, just enable Bluetooth on your phone and CoolStream Duo name will appear in the list. Select Pair and you are in business. To connect the second device, turn Bluetooth off on the first one, turn it on for the second device and CoolStream Duo will again appear in the list. Pair it with the second device as well and you are done!
In my tests, Bluetooth pairing worked flawlessly with several different devices including an iPhone 5, an older but nice Lumia 920, a couple of Galaxy S4/S5 phones and my iPad Mini / my son HP TouchPad running Android (yeah, my house is filled with gadgets). My parent’s PC connected with a USB Bluetooth adapter also worked well.
One use I really appreciate is the ability to connect my good old Sennheiser HD595 headphones to the little box instantly converting them into very high quality wireless headphones.
CoolStream Duo is a very easy way to add Bluetooth functionality to your existing iPhone dock or just connect your smartphone / tablet to an external sound source. I currently have several units connected my car, my receiver and my trusty boombox allowing me (and now my wife/kids) to stream music to any of them. For the current price of $39.99 is quite a bargain and being able to charge it and take it on the road is an amazing feature as well. CoolStream Duo comes Highly Recommended by Review Horizon. You can buy it now from Amazon for $39.99.
- Fairly cheap
- Can function standalone due to its integrated rechargeable battery
- Easy to pair
- Significantly improves the usefulness of old 30-pin docs
- Multipoint technology means you can pair it with two devices at a time so my smartphone and tablet can both use it without re-pairing
- Turns a pair of regular headphones into Bluetooth enabled headphones with minimal effort
- Not streaming to digital docks, but most of them still have an AUX connector so the unit is still usable