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CNET First Look
A high-priced karaoke machine for pop star wannabesThis Bluetooth-powered speaker and microphone set is a novel toy for parties, but its $180 price tag is a little too much to spend when you can download the app for free.
Hey. What's up, guys? I'm Justin Yu for CNET. This is a quick video review of the Philips AEA7100 wireless microphone and Bluetooth speaker combo. So, this is two separate devices. The first part of it is a simple stationary speaker doc with a 30-pin dock connector, that's for all your iOS stuff like the 2nd Gen iPad and iPhones up to the 5th version. It's also Bluetooth powered which means you can stream music from those same devices if you don't need to get it charged out in the dock. It also comes with this wireless microphone here and that's where the second part comes in. The wireless microphone is an accessory to the StarMaker karaoke app that comes bundled with the unit. Now, Philips has partnered with the creators of the StarMaker Karaoke and Auto-Tune app to release the dock. But you could still use the app separately if you wanna keep cost low and don't mind just singing into your iPhone. Now, I'm always down to do karaoke and the app is definitely worth the download if you are too. It's a lot like other karaoke apps and that it tests your vocal skills by stimulating the performance of popular songs as you harmonize along with the vocals. The difference here is that things to a partnership with some of the major music labels, the StarMaker app offers over 500 songs in their catalog that range in genre and decade. Some of the popular ones on here include a bunch of tracks from bands like One Direction, Rihanna, Usher and Blake Sheldon but there's also a bunch of throwback hits like Oops, I Did it Again by Britney Spears, As Long as You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys and I'll Make Love to You by Boyz II Men. -Yes, I'll make love to you like you want me to and I'll hold you tight baby all through the night. -And you can either sing by yourself or sing in a battle mode with a friend but it only comes with one mic, so you'll have to pass that back and forth or just get really close together. And if you're not great at staying in tune, you could still be just as good as those real pop stars with an Auto-Tune button that forces your really bad voice into the right pitch as you sing. Unfortunately, since the app and the hardware made by two different companies, you'll still have to pay for the songs. And you can either pay for individual songs that range from 25 cents up to 75 cents, or you can buy a VIP pass that opens up the entire catalog for $199 a week or $25 bucks for your 6 months. The other option, though, is to earn credits by competing in public competition with other karaoke fans online. The StarMaker has set up a site at starmakerstudios.com where you can upload your songs, get votes on a leaderboard and if your track reaches the top of the list, you'll earn tokens that you can then use to buy more songs. You can download the app for free right now and it works with any iOS device, but this Philips dock is really meant for the iPad version. Here's the thing though, you're not always gonna use the speaker for karaoke in the app and when you're just listening to music, it's really not that great. First of all, it's $180 which is a lot to ask for a speaker that can't go with you and only has two 5 watts speakers inside. You can get something like the created D100 for a lot less. That's an older Bluetooth speaker but it still does everything this Philips speaker can, but are more than half of the price. The Bluetooth microphone is pretty cool and this will make a fun party accessory for die-hard karaokers but everyone else can still have just as much fun. Just download in the app for free and putting your money toward buying more songs in the catalog. You could check out more details in my full review, as well as more Bluetooth speaker reviews on CNET. I'm Justin Yu, you just took a first look at the Philips AEA7100 StarMaker Wireless Microphone and Bluetooth Speaker. Thanks for watching. -Go 'til you tell me to. Girl--