Bluetooth speakers offer the convenience of playing music from a connected smartphone or computer at your next backyard barbecue or picnic, but because manufacturers drive to make these devices as small as possible, they can also come with an overly ambitious price tag. Such is the case with the Monster iClarityHD, one of the smaller Bluetooth speakers we've seen that delivers excellent audio quality thanks to the dual 35-millimeter drivers and a proprietary passive subwoofer inside that handles the low end. On the other hand, its fidelity doesn't compare to the pricier Soundmatters FoxL v2 and instead sounds more like the lesser-quality Logitech Wireless Speaker Z515 or the Creative D100. Unfortunately, with the latter two devices priced for less than $100, we can't fully recommend the overpriced Monster iClarityHD.
Measuring approximately 4 inches long and 2 inches wide and with a weight of only 0.45 pound, the Monster iClarityHD is certainly the most portable Bluetooth speaker to come through CNET.com, although the FoxL v2 comes close at roughly the same size as a king-size Snickers candy bar. On the other hand, we actually prefer the heft of the FoxL's metal chassis to the fragility of the plastic on the iClarityHD, especially for a product designed to travel in a bag and operate outdoors.
The Monster speaker features dual 35mm drivers hidden behind a plastic grille on the front, and a fluorescent blue light shines in the middle to indicate the status of the Bluetooth connection. On the right side, you'll find four buttons for power, volume up and down, as well as a "phone" button for answering or ignoring calls through the speakerphone.
The back has a simple on/off power switch, a Mini-USB port for charging the rechargeable battery, and a 3.5mm audio-in jack to hard-connect your non-Bluetooth music players. Finally, the top of the iClarityHD features a large reflective surface that looks like a large button, but is actually just for aesthetics and attracts fingerprints as badly as a mirror.
Connecting the Monster iClarityHD via Bluetooth is a simple process; it took us less than 5 minutes to pair it with an Apple iPhone. Once the device is switched to "on" on the back, hold down the power button to put it in pairing mode and select the device in the corresponding music player's Bluetooth settings.