Monster iClarityHD Bluetooth Speaker 100 Review

By on April 27, 2011
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Want a single Bluetooth solution for your car and your bedroom?

The iClarityHD Precision Micro Bluetooth Speaker 100 from Monster is the first Bluetooth system that I have looked at feels equally comfortable in your home as it does in your car. Monster, the company behind the awesome beats by Dre series of headphones, claims “Big, Clear, Stero Sound” from this dimunitive box that also features a built-in microphone and can be used as a hands-free Bluetooth solution in your car.

Inside the packaging, you get the iClarityHD with a USB cable that can be used for charging and a puch to carry it along. The USB cable can be plugged into a USB port but plugs for AC outlet or your car are not included. A Quickstart guide is also included that gives you a quick and easy walk-through on setting the iClarityHD up in your car or at home. I generally skim through the quickstart guide of a product before reviewing it to make sure that I don’t miss any feature worth talking about. At times, these QuickStart guides can be mildly amusing- especially the ones that come straight out of Taiwan. However, going through the Monster iClarity HD’s quickstart guide made me smile for a separate reason. The entire guide has instructions to set up the speakers on Apple products- from the iPhone and iPad to the iMac. “If you have a Bluetooth equipped Windows PC, please consult your owner’s manual for pairing instructions.” For almost all other products, it’s generally the other way around.

The iClarityHD unit has a bit of a cheap feel to it, like something you would see at Dragon Mart- definitely not the quality you expect from Monster. The back side has an on/off switch along with the USB port for charging as well as a 3.5mm jack for connecting it to non BlueTooth devices. On the right, you have four buttons- two to control the volume, one to answer and end calls and a power/pairing button that is used to pair or reconnect devices if need be.

The front of the unit has the speaker grills- behind which sit two 35mm full range drivers and a passive radiator subwoofer. Also on the front is the blinding LED that shows you Bluetooth connection status or pairing. I really don’t know why companies chose to equip their products with such bright LEDs. I had the iClarityHD connected to my iPhone in my bedroom but had to get up and switch it off because as soon as I turned off the lights the blinking blue LED was extremely loud and annoying. I recommend putting a tape or something on it if you plan to keep the iCalrityHD in your bedroom.

My expectations from the sound produced by a unit of this size weren’t sky high with the iClarityHD. Thus to say that the iClarity didn’t disappoint isn’t really saying much. The music lacked levels in bass and treble but that is to be expected from a unit that is so small in size. Though I must say that out of the few portable speakers that I have tested, the iClairyHD does sound better than all of them.

The iClarityHD also supports HFP and HSP Bluetooth profiles besides A2DP and AVRCP allowing it to be used as a handsfree solution in your car with it’s built-in noise-cancellation microphone. Sound quality during calls was fine at either end, but then again, you woudn’t necessarily buy the iClarityHD purely to be used as a handsfree solution for your car. A good idea might have been to provide an audio-out 3.5mm plug that you could have used to connect your car’s speaker system to.

Battery life on the iClarityHD is quoted at five hours, however, I did not get a chance to drain the battery out. Priced at AED 484, the Monster iClarityHD is quite a bit on the expensive side.


Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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