BlueAnt BlueSonic review: BlueAnt BlueSonic

If you haven't yet upgraded to a cell or smart phone with A2DP, don't fret. The BlueSonic speakers can also be used with a variety of other devices, thanks to a selection of Bluetooth adapters. This particular unit includes a USB adapter that allows you to stream music wirelessly from your computer. Got VoIP? Yep, the BlueSonic can work as a speakerphone here, too. The unit also works with MP3 players and other portable audio devices. BlueAnt includes a short 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable to this end, but you have the option of purchasing a separate 3.5mm A2DP audio streamer (like the USB one). We're hoping that in the future BlueAnt will have two packaged versions of the BlueSonic: one with the USB adapter and one with the 3.5mm adapter.

When we charged up the BlueSonic, which is rated for 10 hours of talk time at half volume (5 at full and 48 standby), and started pairing it with devices, we were pleased to note the clarity of the instructions. Pairing our PC and phone was a painless procedure (you can pair up to eight devices). And, heck, if it's not painless for you, BlueAnt is more than happy to help out. The company strongly encourages contacting customer support and offers a two-year warranty on its products (the standard is usually a year). In fact, one of BlueAnt's strategies in capturing the U.S. market is offering excellent customer service, and a toll-free call to one of its pleasant representatives indicated that the company is serious about that statement.

To test the BlueSonic's performance, we paired it with a Sony Ericsson K790a phone and a PC running Windows XP and Windows Media Player (WMP) 11. The speaker's buttons flawlessly controlled music playback on both the phone and the PC (WMP only). Just make sure you have the Bluetooth connection turned on before you boot up WMP; otherwise, music won't come out of the speakers (though, oddly, the controls will still work.)

Music coming through the BlueSonic sounded OK--about the same as your average clock radio. Definitely do not expect any noticeable bass. Calls came through the speakers loud and clear, but we got a, "What? You're breaking sounds muffled and distant," from the caller on the other end, which leads us to believe the built-in mic is not up to the task. Likely, hooking up an external mic would ease this problem. While we're excited about the stereo Bluetooth spec, we're not sure how clear of an advantage it is to use wireless rather than traditional speakers, particularly in a portable device that doesn't stand out in terms of sound quality. However, if you abhor cord clutter, solutions such as the BlueSonic could be just what you're looking for.

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