Transform Your Docking Stations with the CoolStream Bluetooth Receiver – iPad Gear Review

We originally told you about the CoolStream Bluetooth Receiver in July, and since then, I’ve had a chance to test out the CoolStream for myself, ending up with mixed results.

CoolStream, from Exeter Science and Entertainment, is a Bluetooth receiver that is designed to plug into any 30-pin port on an iPhone dock or car accessory, allowing you to connect to said accessory using Bluetooth. This lets you use your iPhone docks with your iPads, or quickly connect to in-car devices that may otherwise be inconveniently located.

Design

The CoolStream has a 30-pin connector that plugs in to any compatible iPhone or iPad accessory, and then pairs up with your phone or your iPad using Bluetooth and a simple pin number.

Design wise, the CoolStream is compact and easy to port around. It fits into any iPhone dock, and though it is attractively designed, I thought that the quality was lacking. It’s made from a simple plastic that feels both light and cheap. It seems a bit on the pricy side, given its construction.

Functionality

I was excited to try the CoolStream because I currently have a Griffin iTrip, which requires my phone or my iPad to be plugged in to use when streaming music to the car. I’m not often the driver, so it can be inconvenient to use my iPhone and my iPad while plugged in.

Unfortunately, try as I might, the CoolStream would not connect with the iTrip at all, receiving no power from it. Later research revealed that the CoolStream is not designed to work with this type of accessory.

The CoolStream did successfully work with a manufacturer installed in-car system. I tried it in a family member’s BMW, where the cable is inconveniently located in the glove compartment, putting the iDevice connected to it out of reach.

In this situation, the CoolStream came on immediately, easily paired with both my iPad and my iPhone, and was then able to play songs.

When getting a call, the CoolStream successfully paused the music so I could answer, and then resumed after I hung up, which was nice.

After having mixed results with car accessories, I took the CoolStream to a local electronics store to try it with several iPhone docks.

The CoolStream connected to some, but not all of the docks that I tried. I was successful with a higher end Sony dock, but it would with a lower end Sony-branded dock, I had some trouble. I tried two other Sony docks, and with each, I had to unplug the device and plug it in again several times to get it to work.

I could connect my iPad to the CoolStream, but it would not relay sound, no matter what I tried. I had less trouble with the two different Bose SoundDocks I tried, and I was pleased with the audio quality. It sounded as clear, crisp, and loud.

Conclusion

I don’t have an Android or Blackberry device, but if you do, the CoolStream will also allow you to use these devices with your Apple products, which is super handy.

If you have an Apple-ready sound system in your car, the CoolStream is an invaluable accessory. It allows you to stream your music while retaining access to your iPad or your phone either for charging or for calls.

It’s also a great purchase if you have an iPhone dock that you want to use with an iPad or another device, and most importantly, it’s going to allow you to use all of your current iPhone and iPad accessories when Apple changes the design of its docking port.

Rather than invalidating hundreds of dollars of purchases, you can snap up a CoolStream for under $40, and keep using your favorite accessories.

What I liked: This will be a handy accessory when the new iPhone comes out, and later, the new iPad, neither of which will be compatible with traditional docks and docking pin connectors.

What I didn’t like: The CoolStream does not pair up easily with all iPhone and iPad accessories out there, and it’s a hit or miss determining whether or not it will work. I read several other reviews of the CoolStream, and it seems that people had trouble getting it to pair with quite a few different devices.

To buy or not to buy: If you don’t need the CoolStream now, if you have a 30-pin dock connector iPad or iPhone accessory, you will need the CoolStream in the future. While I do recommend it, I also recommend buying it from a location with a return policy, because there’s a chance it may not work.

  • Accessory Name: CoolStream
  • Manufacturer: Exeter Science and Entertainment
  • Price: $39.99
  • Score:

 

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