Bluetooth devices have become common over the years thanks to wireless phones. Yet it seems like not many users enjoy the benefits of playing their music through their phones. One of the advantages of using a Bluetooth link is you can stream music to a player without having to dock your phone. A company called SuperTooth makes several Bluetooth products and we are going to cover two of them here. SuperTooth has taken Bluetooth technology launched several powerful products.
The first product we looked at is the SuperTooth DISCO, which is a portable stereo speaker system that is capable of streaming MP3 music from any Bluetooth A2DP device, including iPhone, iPad - or even iPod Touch. The DISCO is equally compatible with all other phones, PCs, and MP3 players that support Bluetooth A2DP, but the real benefit is in its portability. Imagine yourself at a picnic wanting to play some music. Simply link your phone or iPad and start playing music without docking the device. DISCO's integrated rechargeable battery provides up to 10 hours of non-stop music at medium volume, and 3 or 4 hours at high volume. The low-power mode offers 1500 hours standby time.
The DISCO has all the controls located in one area. Five tactile buttons (Skip back, play/pause, skip forward, bass, and on/off) surround a single volume knob. This volume knob is real and not an encoder, so when you set the volume it is the maximum the unit will play at that setting. You can still lower it from your phone or iPad.
When the unit is in Standby the front blue indicator will flash every few seconds. Once the Bluetooth link is established, the blue light will stay constantly on.
On the back
The DISCO is a ported design meaning the bass driver uses a non-sealed enclosure. The DISCO relies on this port to extend the subwoofer's bass response. This is particularly helpful when a smaller cabinet is used. The flared edges of the port help minimize noise when the air rushes in and out of the port during loud deep notes. The input power jack is located here with a color indicator that provides charging status from the universal (100-240VAC, 50-60Hz) changing adapter. The indicator is red when the unit is charging and turns green once it is fully charged. There is also a standard 3.5mm line input for non-Bluetooth MP3 music players.
The DISCO is a great sounding unit (street price: $126) for its size with good bass response. I was pleasantly surprised just how well the product was engineered. The built-in battery lasts many hours even at reasonable high volume levels making it ideal for picnics and other gathering. The Bluetooth link was reliable and never failed us during our review period. The DISCO feels solid without the cheap flimsy construction of so many consumer products. SuperTooth has done an excellent job with the DISCO and comes highly recommended for those looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker system.
Another nice product is the Supertooth Buddy. This visor mounted, low-profile Bluetooth (2.1 compliant) phone adapter offers 20 hours talk time and 1000 hours of standby time. The lithium-ion battery takes approximately 3 hours to fully charge. Unlike so many Bluetooth phone adapters, the Buddy is only 0.57-inches thick. We have covered many similar designs, yet this has to be one of the best performers to come our way. The design is simple and performance has been excellent over the past few months we have used it. We tested the Buddy with an Android-based HTC Incredible from Verizon Wireless. Pairing is a simple process and is initiated by holding down the power button until the indicator flashes red/blue and then pressing the MFB (green) button.
There are several issues when using
Bluetooth phone adapters in the car. One is voice quality on the receiving end. Many of these phone adapters just sound bad and high levels of background noise exacerbate the problem. Cutting edge DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology has helped solve this problem and many of the newer Bluetooth phone adapters take advantage of this. The Buddy has very good sound quality when compared to other Bluetooth phone adapters reviewed and does include DSP noise and echo cancellation.
Another issue is how good the audio quality is in the vehicle. Some phone adapters sound distorted (digital) while others sound very good. The Buddy falls into the latter category with good sound quality for the user.
Other features of the Buddy include a single magnet in the center of the unit that attaches to the visor clip. This makes it easy to detach and reattach when charging is required. There is also a micro-USB interface on the back of the unit.
The SuperTooth Buddy priced at $69 is one of the best Bluetooth car adapters I have used to date. Performance has been excellent and its operation has been very reliable. Out of all of the car adapters I have used, it is still my favorite and occupies the little space I have left on my visor. The auto-detect feature synchronizes to my phone quickly whenever I enter my truck without any issues. Look no further if you have been considering a high quality Bluetooth car adapter.