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BlackBerry Music Gateway Review

By Adam Zeis on 30 Jul 2012 03:58 pm EDT
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The new BlackBerry Music Gateway connects to your existing stereo or speaker system letting you wirelessly stream music from your BlackBerry smartphone or other Bluetooth enabled device. This newly updated version features a slimmer design, expanded connectivity and of course, NFC. A revamped version of the original BlackBerry Remote Stereo Gateway, the new model brings everything up to date by adding NFC and a microUSB charging port.

You can easily stream music from any Bluetooth device including your BlackBerry smartphone, BlackBerry PlayBook, Android device, iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC or Bluetooth-enabled MP3 player. Use the BlackBerry Music Gateway to DJ your party, set the background for date night or even as bigger sound for streaming audio from movies or games. Keep reading and we'll see just how easy it is to use the new BlackBerry Music Gateway.

I really do love the BlackBerry Music gateway. It makes it super easy for anyone to wirelessly stream audio from their BlackBerry with little to no effort. I have plenty of speakers around the house that are already in use, so by adding on a 3.5mm cable (included) I can have a great wireless setup for streaming my music as well.

The device itself doesn't look like much - weighing in at just 0.8 ounces, it's not much more than a small black brick (which is totally what you want).  Measuring only 0.4 inches tall and 1.5 inches deep, it easily blends in with your existing setup and is truly a minimal accessory.

On the back you'll find the 3.5mm jack and microUSB charging port. On the front is an LED that will let you know the state of the device (pairing mode, connected). The top BlackBerry logo also acts as the function button for pairing non-NFC devices.

The device streams audio from any Bluetooth device to a connected speaker. Unfortunately it won't work the other way around (ie. stream from a connected device wirelessly to a speaker). You can pair up to six separate devices with the unit, however only one can be active and in use at any time. This is great if you're a multi-device household, as you don't have to worry about removing and pairing devices constantly. 

If you have a BlackBerry with NFC, this is an amazingly easy process as well. Just turn on NFC and tap your phone against the BlackBerry Music Gateway. You'll see a connecting message on your device, then a fun tone letting you know you're good to go.

After that, fire up any music service on your device - the built-in music player, Pandora, Slacker, Spotify, BBM Music -- and stream away. Use your phone as a remote to control the tunes up to about 30 feet away. While you can't actually stream video from your device, you can use the BlackBerry Music Gateway to stream the audio - so you can use an external speaker to get great sound when watching movies on your device.

The quality for me is top-notch, but that obviously varies depending on your speaker setup. Most times when I was within range of about 30 feet or (even more at times) I had no issues. Moving too far away from the unit or having walls/doors in between can get sketchy though -- then the audio gets choppy or just drops off completely until you get closer, so that is just something to be mindful of.

You can use the BlackBerry Music Gateway in countless places. At home for audio when hooked up to an external speaker or stereo system, in your car (providing you have an AUX jack), with a battery powered speaker outdoors ... the list goes on. Any speaker/stereo with an 3.5mm jack will work with this guy, and any Bluetooth enabled device like an iPhone, iPad or Android device can be paired with it.

Overall for the price this is one sweet accessory. Being able to stream music from your device without wires is pretty awesome, and the ability to connect via NFC just makes it that much easier. It's small, doesn't require much setup and it just plain works.

BUY NOW

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Reader comments

BlackBerry Music Gateway Review

60 Comments

How I use it..

I have it hidden behind my dash in my car, when the accessories get powered on, the Gateway gets powered on. The Gateway then connects automatically to my 9900 for music playback only, leaving a voice communcation connection open and available for another bluetooth device. I then power on my bluetooth headset for handsfree, which also automatically connects. Both get connected, and work flawlessly!

The trick is to allow the Gateway to make the first connection, as most (or 2.1 EDR) bluetooth headset s will connect to your phone automatically for both music and communication.

I've been using it since release, and I've had no glitching or issues whatsoever!

I was put off by ridiculous shipping charges from shopblackberry.com when this product was first announced. But way to go Crackberry! I clicked BUY NOW and the order confirmation says you'll ship tomorrow with free shipping in Canada. Wohoo!

i'll wait for the price to die down. no hurry for me.. cool device, though. how can you hook that on your car stereo, if you dont have a aux. jack.? hmmm...

I dont see the price going down until maybe they make a new version. I think its priced pretty reasonable, or you can always wait on a 10 or 15% coupon from CrackBerry.. I think thats what im gonna do. Even tho it would be awesome to win one(hint|hint) kinda surprised theres no contest to win one.. Hopefully soon..

NFC only supports BB right now. You just have to press the button on top and pair it like a normal BT. After that it'll auto re-connect whenever you turn on BT on your phone.

Nowhere in this review or the specs on BlackBerry.com does it indicate whether or not this thing has to be powered in order to work. I know it has a mini USB plug, but does it have an internal battery that is charged by plugging it in or is it just a DC input?

it has to be connected to power to work. Unless I'm *completely* missing something about a battery, there isn't one. I actually thought all along it did have one, but when plugged in overnight and then disconnected from the power source, no love. So yes, it has to be connected to work.

I think the part that makes it confusing is that the article lists having a USB Charging cable. It isn't a charging cable, since there isn't a battery. It is a power cord.

I'm thinking about getting one, but curious how does it work with the Playbook? Does it stream only from specific apps or any sounds from any web page and apps? PLUS for me the most important one - Will it work with the PaceMaker app??? Seems like an awesome idea to spin some tracks wirelessly at home or at a Party. Has anyone tried this yet?

All audio that I've tried with the PlayBook has gone through the Gateway. Including keystrokes, web, and if I watch a movie on it the audio will go through it too if I'm connected.

i can confirm the music gateway works with pacemaker. i wrote about it in the forums a few weeks back.

Bold 9900 - Playbook 32GB - Lumia 800

I would like to know if the PlayBook volume control works when paired with the music gateway. I know it doesn't work when paired with the previous model.

yeah you can use the playbook volume buttons to control the volume of the audio being output through the music gateway and external speakers

Bold 9900 - Playbook 32GB - Lumia 800

* BlackBerry by choice *
It works great with the PlayBook and the volume controls do as well for those asking. No NFC so just connect to it like you would any other Bluetooth accessory. I have had family over and connected it to my 9930, Curve 9330, Curve 8530, iPhone, iPod touch, an old Nextel Android running OS 1.5, and my parents Samsung feature phones. It's a great buy for all of those devices as it works perfectly with all of them.

Bit of a silly question, but does it come with a power source, or do you have to reuse the one that comes with the phone? I vaguely recall it not coming with one.. is this true?

It comes with a small 120v adapter and USB power cable.

Great review for a great device. I love mine. It's ideal for listening to music from my Playbook when I'm in the backyard. I use some Altec Lansing computer speakers and it pumps out the sound well. It also draws very little power. I have some cheap batteries charged by a small solar panel with a USB connection for charging a phone. They don't put out enough wattage to charge my Blackberry, but run the Blackberry Music Gateway fine.

At our parties we use a laptop connected to a speaker setup. Does it power through usb on laptop? If so I would consider purchasing one. Also does it work with iphones? I'm a bb fanboy but many friends and have music on their iphones that we need.

It should. Its standard micro USB.
I don't have mine handy to check the power draw (but most laptops can put out much more than the USB standard indicates).

And yes it works with any Bluetooth capable Smartphone, iPhones included. However the tap-to pair will not work with anything but a BlackBerry, even if the non-bb is NFC capable. For non-BB phones you will have to pair manually. iOS and droid do not support the NFC tap-to-pair command yet, though you might have some luck with a 3rd party NFC action programmer type app.

I have a yamaha receiver and have been searching high and low for their bluetooth receiver. the YBA-10 or something like that.

I think this would make THE perfect substitute !!

Considering the size of this adapter compared with other ones I have been researching on Amazon, I wish this device had a rechargeable battery in it and it would be perfect for my needs. I want to get this device because of the quality and the Blackberry name. Maybe they will update this product with the new Bluetooth specs and possibly add a battery in future when the Blackberry 10 OS phones hit - I can hope. Good price on here though, it's much cheaper than other places I have seen.

does this have bluetooth 4.0? I have the older model, and it is great, but I can hear the bluetooth compression that effects audio quality. Bluetooth 4.0 has no compression, using an HTC audio clip at the moment and the audio quality is flawless. But I liked the design better of the blackberry, and would like to get this one if it does have 4.0.

This is something I didn't like:

- Try to play a stream wireless from your device and send audio to the BB Gateway. It can't keep up.
- Range not as good as other devices.

If somebody doesn't have any of these problems, please post a video about it.

Something I forgot to mention. It can be powered by your laptop, car charger, etc.

This is a great device. My only disappointment was to find out that it doesn't route phone calls to your car audio...I know it is called a 'music gateway but I was naively thinking it would function as a bluetooth interface routing all 'audio'....wonder if this is a future capability through a firmware update....wdyt?

Is there a power button or is it always on? I would like to leave this connected to my home theater system and whenever I want to listen to my iPod just turn the iPod on and connect to the gateway without having to go to the gateway. Is that possible or do I have to turn this on whenever I need to use it? Thanks!

i bought one of these 3 weeks ago and it has been getting daily use since. it's a great buy.

Bold 9900 - Playbook 32GB - Lumia 800

Why would I get something like this? As soon as I would hook it up, my phone would freeze up with "device media processor busy." F'ing stupid, lazy Blackberry/Verizon a-holes.

Use a different OS then. Try the one from Sprint or another CDMA carrier. Carriers aren't to blame, rim isn't to blame either.

If the carrier isn't to blame and RIM isn't to blame, then who is? It is a prevalent problem that has persisted among many of the models throughout the years, to which there is no listed solution. Oh, and Crackberry has been piss poor about pursuing a solution, too.

I'm as big of a Blackberry fan as anyone, but it is very frustrating when I can't use a bluetooth headset to stream music or a ballgame (yep, wasted $14.95 for MLB12) for more than a few minutes without my phone freezing, then have to restart my phone to get the phone or any of the sounds to work.

What sense does this make?

blackberry playbook's

it would be nice to have the music gateway and it works with both playbook and torch that's great one more reason to stick with blackberry and i been with them since 2004
live on blackberry live long and live proud

My wife first told me about this device and she want one so she can hear her music when she have "Spa" night (soaking in the tub). She hate to bring her palybook in the steamy bathroom but we have an old PC battery speakers that would work fine. Would love to surprise her with this one!

I won't complain if I win. I am sure my grandson would love to have one if I can;t figure out how to make it work. Thanks CrackBerry for these opportunities to win a contest.