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Monster iClarityHD Micro 100 review: Monster iClarityHD Micro 100

Monster iClarityHD Micro 100

Justin Yu
Justin Yu Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals
Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.
3 min read

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.

Monster iClarityHD Precision Micro Bluetooth Speaker 100

Monster iClarityHD Micro 100

The Good

Two 35mm drivers provide clear sound with ample bass; built-in microphone for voice conferencing; 5-hour battery life; small footprint.

The Bad

Very expensive; lacks remote control; rechargeable battery only.

The Bottom Line

The Monster iClarityHD Precision Micro Bluetooth Speaker 100 delivers excellent sound quality and even includes a microphone for hands-free teleconferencing with a Bluetooth smartphone, but we can't recommend a $120 accessory when Logitech and Creative offer a similar product for less.

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.

Once paired, you have the flexibility of either listening to a stream of wireless music or using it for hands-free calling with the built-in microphone. In our anecdotal tests, the iClarityHD's noise-canceling feature adequately filtered out ambient background noise while picking up voices from several feel away, and callers on the other end reported clear audio with no fuzz.

We assume that most of the time you'll use the iClarityHD to listen to music, and though you won't likely be disappointed with its fidelity, we aren't as excited about it as the Soundmatters FoxL v2 speaker. Granted, the iClarityHD delivers adequately deep bass thumps at low to midrange volumes, but the FoxL benefits from an additional bass boost thanks to its BassBattery and Twoofer designs that wrap the battery in rubber for increased low-end vibration that you can actually feel.

Cranking the sound up on the iClarityHD results in a lot of fuzz and distortion, especially with tracks featuring heavy bass and low-end. For example, we listened to the entire TR-808-filled album "808s & Heartbreak" by Kanye West using the iClarityHD, and the little guy struggled to keep up with the constant bass hits--similar to what you'd hear in a car's stock speaker system at full blast. That said, as is the case with most Bluetooth speakers, don't expect the iClarityHD to power your next house party with its limited volume levels and sound representations--it's more suitable for smaller indoor events.

Monster iClarityHD Precision Micro Bluetooth Speaker 100

Monster iClarityHD Micro 100

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 7Performance 7
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