I’m not a big fan of portable speakers – I’ve just never come across a point in time where I needed one. I’m not too sure why I even got the BlackBerry Mini Stereo Speaker to begin with, but I guess it had something to do with it being half price at The Source. It also intrigued me to find out use cases for when one would use they’re unique clip-on design, so I took the plunge. I’m no audiophile, but this little speaker does come in handy, offering a range of ways to share your music.
The speaker connects universally to any Bluetooth enabled device through Bluetooth v3.0. Simply turning the device on and selecting it from your smartphone – it makes pairing a breeze. Allowing you to connect up to 2 devices – one for music from a tablet and another to answer incoming calls from a smartphone – and a mic is included on the bottom right, for when used as a speakerphone. BlackBerry claims it has up to 16 hours talk time, 14 hours streaming time, and minimum 40 days standby time. I haven’t been able to test it to that extreme, but I’ve used it for 4+ hours streaming music without a hiccup.
On the front of the speakers are the volume and playback controls. Holding the volume up button will skip a track and vice-versa for volume down. Tapping the centre button will answer incoming calls or play/pause a track.
The speaker charges through USB 2.0 (cable included) and also offers a 3.5mm auxiliary jack for audio out (3.5mm to 3.5mm cable included), making this a great companion as a wireless receiver to your favourite pair of headphones.
The whole unit is made of plastic, which makes slipping it on and off straps simple, with horizontal bars on the inside to grip onto surfaces. Unfortunately, being able to only open up to 5 mm, it limits the type potential and use cases of the design.
- Impromptu speakerphone for a conference call with several people
- Use as a wireless solution to stream your music to your car’s aux port
- Answer calls wirelessly without needing to fiddle around with your phone to activate speakerphone (I do not condone texting/calling while driving)
- Loud enough to share your music on a deck, park, party, etc.
- Have music streaming through your tablet while also having your smartphone connected to be able to answer calls on the fly
- Free your phone of wires, connect your headphones/earphones to the aux port and have your music streamed through the receiver while you work/play/walk with your phone – cord-free
- And of course the obvious one, slip it onto your shoulder strap (one that fits at least), and share your music as you walk or bike around the city
- Super simple pairing through Bluetooth v3.0
- Includes volume/playback controls
- Optimized portable speakerphone – echo and noise cancellation
- Built-in rechargeable battery through USB
- Compact size
- Connect 3.5mm aux cable jack – connect non-Bluetooth headphones/earphones for a hands-free solution from your smartphone
- Expensive – $99.99
- Clip design’s only use case is on a shoulder strap, could’ve faired better by just implementing a removable clip for when it needs to be clipped on something, otherwise it’s usually sitting on top of a surface
- Hard to find anything to clip on to that’s less than 5mm as most shoulder straps are padded
Even without really testing the audio quality, It’s hard to recommend the BlackBerry Mini Stereo Speaker to anyone not looking for the specific need for it. When on sale at The Source for $50, it’s a great price for a unique clip-on design to free your smartphone from cords, and impromptu share your music. But at $99, for a mini speaker to be designed specifically to be clipped onto something, a 5mm maximum gap really limits it’s potential – don’t even think about using it on your car’s sun visor. Unless you’re looking for the specific ability to clip onto an unpadded shoulder strap, there are much better options out there as wireless mini speakers, such as the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox or even the Jawbone JAMBOX.