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CNET First Look
Wild design but small soundBlackBerry's new $99.99 Mini Stereo Speaker connects to a smartphone over wireless Bluetooth, is compact, and clips to clothing. Its sound, however, won't blow you away.
-Hi. This is Brian Bennett for CNET.com. And right now, we're taking a first look at the BlackBerry Mini Stereo Speaker. This tiny Bluetooth Smartphone accessory costs $99.99, basically $100, and it's made to operate as both a wireless speaker, and a hands-free speaker phone. The gadget also has a pretty unconventional design. Unlike typical Bluetooth speakers, which tend to be boring rectangular boxes or cylinders, the BlackBerry Mini Stereo Speaker is shaped like a clip. The idea is to use the speaker's U-shaped body to slide it on to bag straps, shirts, or other items of clothing. Once attached, you can listen to music and other audio and stereo while on the move, or conduct hands-free calls since the device also doubles as a speaker phone. Hello. -Hey. -You charge the speaker's rechargeable battery via a micro-USB port. And the gadget has a line-in 3.5 millimeter audio jack to connect non-Bluetooth devices. A power switch, volume buttons and play/pause call key are the only physical controls. Now, I do have some doubts about the appeal of the BlackBerry Mini Stereo Speaker. First, I'm not sure who would want to blast tunes or make calls from their bag strap or even where and when they would do this. For example, trying something like this on the New York City subways and buses will land you in hot water pretty quickly. Also, the speaker is on the pricy side, especially considering its small drivers, which don't get very loud. And while it should work with any hand set that support stereo Bluetooth, BlackBerry markets the device as an accessory for its new Z10 Smartphone. Unfortunately, however, the speaker doesn't take advantage of the Z10's NFC chip for fast pairing. Wanna find out more? Be sure to check back soon for a full review. I'm Brian Bennett for CNET.com, and this has been a first look at the BlackBerry Mini Stereo Speaker.