Published on October 4th, 2012 | by Kira0
Bluetooth! Monster’s Voice Activated Bluetooth Speaker
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- like the recently-reviewed tuneLink Home.
Or perhaps you’re looking for something more portable? Monster recently came out with an lightweight, slick upgrade to their line of Bluetooth speakers that can fit in a hand, purse, or most bags: the Clarity HD Micro Portable Bluetooth Speaker. This speaker comes with a wrist strap and you can switch out the front grill between black, white, blue, green, and pink, for whichever fits your style.
These speakers easily sync up with any Bluetooth device, but works best with smartphones like the iPhone or HTC One X. We used our new iPhone5 and found it connected within five seconds all through voice activation! Speaking of which, the coolest part about this speaker is that it can be voice activated. You just say “Hello Monster Micro” and the speaker is ready for 24 different commands, not limited to “check battery,” “pair mode,” “what can I say,” and “settings menu.” The speaker seems to handle voice commands very well, but it unfortunately has to pause the music for it to work. However, this feature does mean that you can also use the speaker as a speaker phone, which we found was pretty clear, perfect for conference calls.
The overall sound of the Clarity HD Micro Portable Bluetooth Speaker was acceptable. It had some trouble when we tested the higher volumes and did not go quite as loud as we would have liked. In addition, we found changing the volume a little annoying. The app that is used on your device has it so changing a track and the volume is the same +/- controls, it is just a matter if you tap the button (for a track change) or hold it down (for volume). We found that instead of just turning up the song it would sometimes switch to the next track, which can quickly become very annoying.
The battery life is pretty good though (and rechargeable, rather than requiring disposables). It will last around five to six hours depending on how loud you have it, which is plenty for most people, and competitive with other similar devices. The Bluetooth signal range is standard- you are looking at about 30 feet or a little less if it has to travel through walls.
For a higher-end speaker, the Clarity HD Micro Portable Bluetooth Speaker looks slick and feels well-built, It comes with some cool features, but for the price tag of $190, we expected a bit more. It certainly offers superior sound than, say the HMDX Jam Bluetooth Speaker which we recently reviewed, but is significantly more expensive. A good part of the value is in the voice commands and speakerphone functionality, and so we recommend taking a careful look at this one if you’re in the market for a full-featured portable wireless speaker and speakerphone.