Earlier this month, RIM released the BlackBerry Music Gateway. This device was based on the previous BlackBerry Stereo Music Gateway but it was a total, ground-up, redesign. The original Gateway was clunky and pairing required a few steps. Both of these issues had been remedied with the all-new BlackBerry Music Gateway. We unboxed this device a few weeks back, and I had nothing but good things to say about it in my initial impressions video. I have now spent some in-depth time with the Gateway and my full review of this great, new device can be seen past the break.
The BlackBerry Music Gateway was designed to blend into your entertainment setup and not be noticed. However, it was also designed so that if and when it is noticed, the device will be pleasant to the eyes. The Music Gateway is small, it’s less than 2.5 inches wide and less than a half-inch tall. The Gateway features a glossy black rim around the edge of the device. On top is a textured black surface with the BlackBerry logo prominently displayed. There is a tiny LED on the front, right side of the Gateway that allows you to see what mode the Gateway is currently in.
Almost anyone can set up the BlackBerry Music Gateway. All it requires is plugging in two cords to the back of the Gateway and then those cords into the appropriate outlets. One of these cords is a micro-USB cable that uses a standard BlackBerry AC adapter to power the Gateway. The second cable connects the Gateway to your stereo. You can choose either a 3.5 mm cable or an RCA cable to bring the music from the Gateway to your stereo. Once you have these two cables connected, you’re ready to pair and stream.
Pairing your mobile device with the BlackBerry Music Gateway is incredibly simple. If you have an NFC-enabled BlackBerry smartphone, like the BlackBerry Bold 9930, all it requires is a simple tap and you’re ready to go. Just make sure that NFC is enabled on your BlackBerry and then touch the battery door of your device to the top of the Gateway. In about 1-2 seconds your BlackBerry will connect and notify you that it’s ready to stream some tunes.
If you’re using a BlackBerry PlayBook, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device to stream to your Gateway, the pairing is almost as easy. Just press the top of the Gateway to put it into pairing mode. When the Gateway is in pairing mode, you can then see it listed under Bluetooth devices on your Playbook and you can select it to pair with.
Once you have paired the Gateway with your Bluetooth-enabled, phone or tablet, reconnecting is simple. You just open the Bluetooth device menu on your device and select the Music Gateway. The signal will automatically wake up the Gateway and your connection will be established.
Now we are on to the most important feature of the BlackBerry Music Gateway, the actual music. The sound quality of the Gateway is top-notch. You get the same quality over this Bluetooth connection as you would plugging the BlackBerry into your stereo via the 3.5 mm headphone jack. You can control you music right from your device and never have to run over to the stereo to change songs or adjust the volume.
You can play any audio source from your BlackBerry through the Gateway. This includes stored music, Streamed music from services like Pandora or Spotify, Internet Radio, BBM Music, or any audio file that your BlackBerry can play. You can not; however, use the Gateway for phone calls. You’ll be able to hear the person talking, but you can’t talk back since the Gateway doesn’t have a built-in microphone.
The only limitation of the streaming capabilities of the Gateway lie in the Bluetooth technology. As most people know, Bluetooth has a limited working range. I have found that with most devices, both BlackBerry and otherwise, you need to be within 20 feet for a clear signal. Past that there is some slight loss in quality. Once you get between 25 and 30 feet, you may begin to notice you music skipping. Past 30 feet, which is the generally accepted operational range for Bluetooth, you’ll lose the signal entirely.
The BlackBerry Music Gateway claims to do one thing and do it well. Do I feel that this claim holds up? Absolutely! RIM wanted to deliver crystal clear audio while keeping the entertainment area uncluttered and they wanted to make getting your music to the Gateway as simple as possible. They have accomplished all of these goals with the BlackBerry Music Gateway and have managed to do it all for only $49.99. If you like music and would love to stream it wireless, the BlackBerry Music Gateway is the way to go. You can grab yours from the link below.