CoolStream Bluetooth Receiver for iPhone Dock

One of the attractive qualities about Apple products is that they can be used seamlessly across a wide range of accessories. With the introduction of the Lightning connector, this is not always the case, especially with sound/music systems. Now consumers must deal with interface adapters and/or replace accessories.

My wife and I recently upgraded to the iPhone 5, which uses the new Apple Lightning connector interface. We have a portable Logitech speaker dock (S715i) we received a year ago as a gift, but the interface is through the original iPhone/iPod 30-pin connector. We also have an older iPod Nano with the 30 pin connector we occasionally use with the speaker. So, we fall into the same category as many Apple product consumers… we have a mixed bag of connectors across our Apple products and accessories.

I decided that I did not want to sell or scrap our sound dock, but I did not want to use the line-in connection either. I could have used a 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter, but I felt that it was too bulky and would create instability and stress on the connector when an iPhone was plugged in to the dock using the adapter. Instead, I found the CoolStream Bluetooth receiver and gave it a try.

This receiver features a 30-pin iPhone/iPod interface. What caught my attention is that CoolStream verified compatibility with our Logitech speaker, along with many other makes & models of iPhone/iPod docking stations. Furthermore, by effectively adding Bluetooth connectivity to our dock, anyone with a Bluetooth transmitting device can connect to the dock, including many Android smart phones. The CoolStream receiver effectively updated our sound dock to be Bluetooth compatible. Considering that we like our sound dock, and that a new, portable Bluetooth speaker would cost in the neighborhood of $100 or more, I felt that the CoolStream receiver was money well spent ($40 at the time of writing this article).

The CoolStream receiver is easy to use. Simply plug it in to the dock, and turn the dock on. Hold the button at the top of the receiver for 3 seconds to turn it on, and then pair the receiver with whatever device you want to use.

However, there are some downsides. The CoolStream does not have an internal battery, so the docking station must provide power. This is typically the case, unless the dock has an internal battery like the Logitech S715i. I found that when the Logitech is unplugged from its power supply, it does not supply power to the 30 pin connector, so the CoolStream receiver does not work. This configuration makes sense to maximize the battery life of the speaker, rather than using the battery to power the attached device Furthermore, some reviewers are reporting issues with using the CoolStream receiver to connect to some sound docks and car stereos. So, as always, caveat emptor. However, before replacing an existing dock or stereo to upgrade from a 30 pin iPhone/iPod connector, it is worth evaluating if the CoolStream receiver is worth the cost to extend the life of your electronics

-- Ryan Gwaltney  

CoolStream Bluetooth Receiver for iPhone Dock
$40

Available from Amazon