July 25, 2014

CoolStream Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

CoolStream Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Overall Score

2.88

Build Quality

Sound

Options

Price

The CoolStream Portable Bluetooth Speaker kills competitors on price, but not on sound.
CoolStream Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review Reviewed by on . Rating: 3

There’s nothing I love more than having an easy way to share my music while on the go, or around the home. There are no shortage of options available to consumers, as Bluetooth speakers are becoming a standard accessory for nearly any accessory company.

I’ve spent the last few weeks with the CoolStream Portable Bluetooth Speaker, jamming out to my favorite music and putting it through its paces.

When you first unbox the speaker you’ll notice it includes a USB charging cable. You’ll then assume it’s a standard microUSB cable, but then you’ll soon be disappointed to when you realize it’s not a standard cable, and you’ll have to add yet another cable to your bag when you plan on using the speaker away from home. The good news is, CoolStream claims the speaker will play music for 4 hours off of a single charge, and each time I’ve charged up the speaker it’s lasted far beyond the 4 hour mark. I’ve hit 6 and 6.5 hours respectively. Not too shabby.

Once you get over the non-standard charging cable, you’ll find a 3.5mm plug, a USB 2.0 slot and an SD card slot on the back of the speaker. Each one gives you an additional avenue to stream your music through beyond that of the Bluetooth 2.1 support included in the speaker.

As for pairing and connecting the speaker to a compatible device; the process is easy and doesn’t stray from the current Bluetooth pairing norm.

My biggest gripe about the speaker happens to be about the most important feature when it comes to music: the sound quality.

While the speaker does get loud, the sound quality is put on the back burner. Most of the time the sound comes out sounding hollow, with no depth or drive to it. At times the speaker would act as if I had carried my 27-inch iMac out of its range. During my time testing the speaker, it was placed on the back of my office couch about 10-feet away from my phone and/or iMac. Yet, the crackling persisted.

One can only guess price point of $60 is a huge factor in the quality of sound, where most Bluetooth speakers on the market start at $100 and go up from there. Trying to undercut the price point of competitors is a good idea, only if you have the product that can meet or exceed the performance of your competitors. In this case, the CoolStream Portable Bluetooth speaker only beats competitors on price.

The Good:

  • $60 price point
  • Better than claimed battery life
  • Portability

The Bad:

  • Poor sound quality
  • Crackling for no apparent reason
  • Non-standard charging-port

Judgement:

I can’t recommend this speaker, as much as I would love to have a speaker at this price to point friends and family members to. The sound quality just isn’t there. If you’re on a budget for a quality speaker, wait a bit longer and save some money until you can afford a better speaker.

Specs:

  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR that supports A2DP, AVRCP, and hands-free profile
  • No pin pairing which is activated by a convenient on/off switch
  • Built-in microphone for speaker phone calling
  • USB 2.0 port for music playback from flash drive
  • Memory card slot for music playback from SD Card
  • Line in jack to connect MP3 player’s 3.5mm earphone jack
  • Rechargeable battery with 4 hours of music playback time