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Iriver Blank BTS-SD1 Sound Donut Bluetooth speaker review: Iriver Blank BTS-SD1 Sound Donut Bluetooth speaker

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O-shaped wireless speakers are apparently in fashion these days. I recently reviewed Philips' Apple AirPlay-enabled SoundRing and previewed the Panasonic SC-MC07 Compact Wireless Stereo Speaker. And now Iriver has released its $99.99 Bluetooth Sound Donut here in the U.S. under the Blank brand.

iriver-blank-bts-sd1-sound-donut-bluetooth-speaker-pink.jpg
6.8

Iriver Blank BTS-SD1 Sound Donut Bluetooth speaker

The Good

The <b>Iriver Blank Sound Donut</b> offers Bluetooth wireless audio streaming and has an appealing ring design with a built-in rechargeable battery that makes it easy to carry around. It features an integrated microphone and speakerphone capabilities.

The Bad

It's short on bass, so it doesn't sound too good when playing music.

The Bottom Line

Though it sounds fairly thin, the portable and rechargeable Sound Donut's flat ring design and speakerphone capabilities make it worth considering.

The portable speaker comes in a few different color variations, including the all-black model I received as a review sample. As I said, this is a Bluetooth speaker and it has a built-in microphone for making cell phone calls. It also has an integrated rechargeable battery that will enalbe you to stream audio for up to 9 hours when fully charged. The Sound Donut recharges via an included USB cable and has an auxiliary input for non-Bluetooth audio devices.

The Sound Donut has an attractive design and looks good sitting on a desk or table. Sarah Tew/CNET

The Sound Donut has a few strong points. For starters, its ring design makes it very easy to carry around in your hand. It also looks nice sitting on your desk or wherever you choose to lay it down. It's got a rubberized bottom, so it doesn't slide around, and it features some touch-sensitive virtual buttons on top of the unit that I liked (they light up blue).

It was also easy enough to pair my iPhone 4S, iPad, and a Samsung Galaxy S3 Android phone. Like other Bluetooth speakers, this one will stream audio from almost all Bluetooth-enabled devices, including tablets, smartphones, and PCs.

The speaker has a rubberized bottom. Sarah Tew/CNET

In terms of performance, the Sound Donut was at its best when used as a speakerphone. It plays fairly loud, but for music, it's lacking in the bass department and sounds fairly thin. For augmenting the sound while watching a movie on your iPad, it would be fine. It's also OK for casual music listening, but just don't expect to be wowed by the sound.

To that end, I felt the Logitech Mini Boombox, which costs a little less, delivered better sound quality. That said, this has a flatter design and would be easier to carry in a bag. (See my post on top Bluetooth speakers for less than $100 for additional options in this price range.)

The Sound Donut delivers good speakerphone quality but is less impressive with music. Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion
I liked the Sound Donut and thought it had some good attributes, such as an appealing design and solid speakerphone performance. Though it's hard to expect the world from a relatively flat, compact speaker, its distinct lack of bass made it less desirable for all but casual music listening. That said, it will definitely augment the sound of your tablet for movie watching and game playing.

I can't call this a great deal at $99.99, but it's right around what a lot of portable mini Bluetooth speakers cost. If you see it discounted a bit, closer to $75, it's definitely worth a longer look. But at $99, you'll want to do some comparison shopping before you buy.

iriver-blank-bts-sd1-sound-donut-bluetooth-speaker-pink.jpg
6.8

Iriver Blank BTS-SD1 Sound Donut Bluetooth speaker

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 5