Review: Motorola MOTOROKR EQ5 Wireless Travel Stereo Speaker

CrackBerry Idol - Tim
By Kevin Michaluk on 12 Aug 2010 10:36 am EDT
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Motorola EQ5 Wireless Travel Stereo Speaker

When it comes to Bluetooth accessories for mobile phones, there are certainly lots of headsets and visor-mounted speakerphones to choose from. Various models, ranging from low-quality, budget-friendly to somewhat expensive, high-end products are available from several manufactures in many different outlets, from Best Buy to ShopCrackBerry.com, Wal-Mart and even convenience stores at gas stations. Considering the wave of local legislation banning cell phone usage while driving, this is definitely good for everyone.

However, as smartphone sales have skyrocketed in recent years and companies like Apple and Google have forced the likes of RIM and Palm to shift focus from enterprise to consumer space, there still aren't a lot of entertainment-driven Bluetooth accessories for mobile phones. What about those of us who love to listen to music or watch movies and YouTube videos on our phones but don't feel the equipped external speaker is adequate? As mentioned, there are the visor-mounted speakerphones for cars but when placed on a table they don't stand up easily, making it difficult to control the direction of the sound. If you should leave it in the house and forget to take it with you when you travel, you are without your speakerphone and-in the jurisdiction of some cities and states-without communication, thus negating its entire purpose. Headsets are certainly more portable and the direction of sound is obviously controllable, as it goes directly into your ear. But if you lose power in a storm and you want to watch a movie with your wife or roommate, or if you just want to listen to music while you read, without having something attached to your head, headsets or even headphones will not give you the perfect blend of sound quality and liberation that you desire.

Motorola EQ5

Enter the exceedingly more narrow market of Bluetooth portable speakers. There isn't nearly the plethora of options available that there is for headsets but there are some decent products, including a couple from Sony and an offering from Cignias that seems to have vanished. At any rate, it seems that if you are able to find portable Bluetooth speakers for your BlackBerry, they often come at a premium. This is where the Motorola ROKR EQ5 comes in. With decent sound quality, perfect size and weight for mobility, and a great price-point, it has almost everything I was hoping for. Is it right for you?

Motorola EQ5

First Things First

Before I give my own impressions and findings, let's run through the features and specs so you know exactly what you're getting:

  • Play music wirelessly from MP3 players, PC's or various mobile phones with Bluetooth Stereo Profile (A2DP)
  • Make hands-free phone calls using your phone's Bluetooth connectivity
  • Universal Compatibility: Tested with over 200 phones and works with brands like Apple (iPhone), Motorola (Droid) and, of course, RIM (BlackBerry).
  • 3.5 mm audio input jack for music devices without Bluetooth
  • Discreet desk-stand
  • Wireless Range: up to 10 meters (33 ft)
  • Battery: Rechargeable, non-replaceable
  • Music Play time: Up to 6 hours
  • Talk time: Up to 12 hours
  • Standby time: Up to 150 hours
Motorola EQ5

Inside the box:

  • MOTOROKR EQ5 (Obviously)
  • Charger (You're basically getting an extra phone charger; this uses the same micro-USB connection as your BlackBerry!)
  • Quick Start Guide (Which, by the way, is very detailed, but easy to follow and extremely helpful)
  • 3.5mm Audio Cable for connecting to non-Bluetooth devices

Form Factor

Motorola EQ5

Let's be honest: I'm not typically one to pay attention to listed dimensions on websites when ordering things, unless I'm buying clothes (and sometimes not even then). So when I first pulled this little guy out of the box I was extremely surprised by how small it is. Had I noted the listed dimensions of 4.6 x 2.55 x 0.59 inches I would have known that it's almost exactly the same size as my Storm 9530, but with a weight of 100g, it is considerably lighter.

Motorola EQ5

The second thing I noticed right away was the nice, sleek aesthetic of the design. All black with a shiny chrome bezel around the front edge, it slightly resembles some BlackBerry designs, such as the Storm and the Bold 9700. The unit has 6 large, but not gawky, buttons centered between the two speakers, which allow the user to skip ahead or backward, play/pause the selected track, raise and lower the volume and make calls. The buttons are large and easily read, but are flush with the surface of the speaker and don't take away from its portability. The power switch is on the bottom edge of the device and locks in place, preventing the user from accidentally bumping it on or off. Perhaps one of the nicest features is the fold-out desk-stand which props the speakers up at approximately a 45 degree angle instantly enhancing the environment wherever you go. Rounding out the design are the necessary inputs: well-concealed and covered micro-USB port for charging, a 3.5mm audio jack for external audio sources and a built-in microphone for hands free calling.

Setup and Use

Connection to the EQ5 is extremely simple and takes a matter of seconds. Check out the video at the top of this post for my Easy Setup Guide.

The sound quality is much better than the external speaker on my Storm 9530. It's clearer, louder and has a much more dynamic range than any built-in speaker I've personally heard on a phone. It even maintains great clarity at its maximum volume with very little, if any, distortion. While it has great clarity and excellent highs and mids, my biggest complaint with this speaker is easily the lack of low-end tone. There is almost zero bass in this unit and there is no way to adjust the sound to bring up the low end or tweak any settings. For a speaker with "EQ" in the name, I found it very disappointing that there is no access to a graphic equalizer, either on the device or as a setting from the phone. With this being a rather inexpensive device and considering the portability, versatility and functionality, I don't fault it too much for this one flaw. However, I would personally trade some of the compactness of the design for larger speakers that could handle some bass. As a musician and somewhat music nerd, that matters to me perhaps more than it might to other people, but it is definitely worth mentioning and worth taking into consideration before purchasing this unit.

As far as usefulness and functionality as a whole, I definitely find the EQ5 to suit my desires. It's good for adding music to a workout, while reading, hanging out on the deck or porch, or while getting ready for your day. It's not really ideal for parties, due to the lack of bass response and though it has excellent clarity on both the sending and receiving ends, it's not ideal for phone calls in your car as there is no real way to mount it anywhere, unless you just keep it in your cup holder or on the seat next to you. I really didn't have any problems with the device other than those already mentioned. I found that after the initial setup it connected quickly every time and cooperated well with most applications. The only trouble I had was with MLB At Bat 2010 for BlackBerry and not the device itself. 

Conclusion

Overall I am extremely satisfied with this speaker. It's a great product for anyone who wants to enhance the sound of the music stored on, or streaming to, her BlackBerry. It is very portable and durable as it could fit into a pocket or a purse without worry of buttons falling off or any sort of screen getting cracked. Despite the lack of bass, it also provides great sound quality and volume for the size. At a price of $99.95 on ShopCrackBerry.com, I would recommend it highly.

Rating:
Motorola ROKR EQ5

Motorola EQ5 rating

9 comments

Kevin Michaluk

Kevin (aka Ryan Seacrest): Gotta love how brought back our old CB rating scale for this one. You must have been hunting through the site. :) Let's see what the judges have to say!

CrackBerry Idol Judges

Dieter: Good review, but your preliminaries are quite a bit too long, but I appreciate the detail later in the review. Your video is pretty solid and helpful (love the bits at the end!), but check that screen brightness.

Georgia: Tim, love that you thought about keeping the viewers entertained as well as informed. The written review was slightly long but showed how well you knew the Motorola ROKR EQ5. I enjoyed the use of rating graphics as well, it gives the readers a quick overall scope of the device. Good luck for next round.

Craig: TIm a very well written review that flowed well. Your video was well done and easy to watch. You get points for having Office Space on at the end. What a cult movie! I really don't have much to add other than well done, and get your TPS reports done.

lost.without.my.bbtour

Actually own this product, and couldn't be more pleased. Got it for like $27 on amazon!

_X_

I thought the review was solid. Good info and the "fields test" demo was great. Kudos for the Office Space reference.

I've been looking for a device like this. One thing I would have liked to seen is a demo on a phone call.

What did not work well was the demo on how to pair a BT device. This is a review not a tutorial. The only time it would have been worth any discussion is if it deviated from the norm.

Xopher

Not too many Uh's in the video (still a little much with 14), but other than that, very solid review.

antharris88

Would like too see you do a video with less then 5 um's in it about american economics you have 24 hours lol.

lost.without.my.bbtour

would love to see a review of the EQ7!

markrecital

Wow, thanks a lot for this info! I just wondered onto the site to get info about some accessories for my phone. This "idol" thing is real cool, and TIM has my vote for sure! Thanks for the great setup guys!

Pootermobile

Pretty cool review :) I liked the end especially the movie ;)

Rig415

That is a little Steep... I know that it is retailed at that price.. But i did just find it for $26 on Amazon.. Brand new... So i would Search around if you are really interested in this product.. It is out there for less then $100.. thats for sure... Great review.. it got me intrested in it enough that i searched the web for it... Great Job