Published on October 4th, 2012 | by Greg0
Bluetooth! tuneLink Home: Wireless Audio And Remote
Bluetooth has come a long way. The competition for wireless technologies has certainly heated up- witness the success of Sonos and Apple’s Airplay- but the Bluetooth market continues to expand, as new manufacturers join, supporting new features and devices.
We’ve had the chance to check out lots of Bluetooth gear, from docks to clocks. And today we’ve got a pair of very different devices that each have something to offer. As we approach the holiday season, it’s time to start thinking of what gifts might be a good fit for the gadget-lover in your life. With that in mind, we bring you a look at the unique tuneLink Home from New Potato Technologies.
Featuring longer-range Bluetooth format that allows for devices to be connected up to 100 feet away (three times the old range), this is a cute box that serves two purposes. The first is to serve as a universal remote, translating signals from your smartphone to IR signals to control your home theater system. It’s similar in many ways to aprevious product that we’ve seen from them, the FLPR. But whereas the FLPR is a dongle that attaches to your phone and thus requires line-of-site to the equipment you want to control, the tuneLink Home allows you to wirelessly connect to the base station, which can then send out the signals itself. Meaning you can take your iOS device (iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad) or Android (coming soon) and use it as a remote control, with no need for a dongle, and even do so from another room entirely. The base itself is a little odd looking, though pleasantly futuristic.
But that’s not really the killer feature here- it’s a nice bonus, but the real reason to get this nifty box is the audio streaming functionality. Simply connect the power adapter (using the included mini-USB cable), and either an analog or optical audio cable between the tuneLink Home and your receiver or speaker system- and you have instantly turned your speakers into a wireless system. The Bluetooth connection was stable and solid- no hassle, no fuss- and reconnected quickly and repaired without issues when the devices were in range again. Sound quality was excellent- we noticed no major compression or artifacting, though perhaps a bit of strain at higher volumes on highs when compared with a direct connection.
For those with Airplay or Bluetooth-enabled receivers or docks already in place, you can probably give this a pass. But if you’re like us, and have an iPhone 5 that has made your decent-sound docks into ‘vintage’ electronics, this is a way to upgrade them instantly and cheaply. Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to control your DVD player or projector or other A/V gear from your phone without needing a dongle (or, again, are stuck with a dongle that no longer works with your phone), we were impressed by the versatility of the remote functions. The app is free and decent, with a very large library of control codes, and you can ever setup macros or schemes to make multiple things happen with the touch of a button. Available now, for a very reasonable sub-$100 pricetag.