iCreation SpeeCup review: Unwieldy speaker streams music, calls

When gesture control was on, I could cause music to switch to the next track by waving my hand over the top of the SpeeCup. I could also make it answer an incoming phone call in similar fashion.

Of course, it was equally easy to push the buttons on the top to answer calls or skip tracks, but gesture control was more impressive.

Tapping the SpeeCup's top, dead center, activated Siri on my paired iPhone, and should also work with Samsung's S Voice Drive. The small microphone in the top of the SpeeCup did a good job of sending my voice commands to the phone, letting me request music by name, start navigation, and call my contacts.

The rotating ring volume adjustment is less successful, as turning it ended up turning the entire device. I easily memorized the positioning of the various controls so that I didn't have to look down at it while driving, but the orientation of the controls was thrown off when I moved the volume dial.

However, the volume dial didn't really come into play when I plugged the SpeeCup into my car's stereo through the auxiliary audio port, as I could just use the car's own volume control.

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The SpeeCup only has one speaker, but the design helps sound radiate outward 360 degrees. Josh Miller/CNET

I was somewhat impressed by the SpeeCup's audio quality. Its small speaker, visible through ports in the sides of the SpeeCup, points upward at a dome, which radiates the sound waves outward. Another port lower in the casing serves for the bass reflex part of the speaker, not something most Bluetooth speakers offer.

Music playing through the speaker sounded rich and balanced, with good clarity from low to high frequencies. The sound is reasonably powerful for the size of the speaker.

However, as the SpeeCup only has a single speaker, it won't broadcast in stereo. As such it won't stage the sound or provide an immersive listening experience.

Compact options
Compared with the many Bluetooth speakers on the market, the SpeeCup offers a nice set of features along with quality sound output. The gesture control feature is a neat trick on top of the standard buttons.

Designed like a travel mug, it fits well into a car. However, a Bluetooth adapter such as the Kinivo BTC450 or Gogroove Smartmini works as a more compact and less expensive way to connect a phone to a car stereo.

The SpeeCup's size also makes it a bit of a burden for carrying from place to place, and it will take up a chunk of luggage space when traveling. At about half the SpeeCup's height, the Philips SoundShooter Wireless is a better size for portability.

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