aNewDomain.net –- It is highly unusual for me to review a product, software or service that I recommend with no qualms at all. The BlueAnt Ribbon Bluetooth Streamer — an accessory and app for Apple iOS and Android devices — is a super-rare exception.
You get a ton of bang for the buck here — hands-free streaming, great audio quality, seamless operation and an array of other terrific features all for under $70.
The first time I pressed my BlueAnt Ribbon Bluetooth Streamer and it called my husband when I asked it to, well, that was it. I was hooked on this little lapel-pin accessory.
I felt like Captain Janeway — or Kirk, actually. It really is that good. The BlueAnt Ribbon Bluetooth Streamer accessory for Apple iPhone and Android devices is a $69 rubber device you attach to your lapel, shirt or collar. You give it voice commands via Bluetooth — and it streams your music at you, too.
And it lets you plug it into any car or home AUX port. Nice.
The Ribbon is shaped like — you guessed it — a ribbon. It’s got black rubber on the outside and blue plastic on the inside. I found it to be a perfect, snug fit for a collar, pocket or sleeve. The plastic coating makes it easy to slide it on and off. The industrial design is elegant in that respect.
The BlueAnt Ribbon Bluetooth Streamer shines in every other aspect, too.
You charge it with a USB cable — it’s included. The AC charger uses the micro USB port. There’s a terrific BlueAnt Bluetooth Streamer app for Android that pairs the device with your phone. Apple iPhone owners won’t need the app, because out of the box the Ribbon will sync straight from the Apple iPhone’s built-in Bluetooth settings. And the sound quality … amazing.
The Ribbon includes comfortable ear buds and it’s compatible with any earbuds that’ll fit into that standard 3.5 mm port at the bottom of the device. Set it up — it’s easy and quick — and voila. Whatever is playing on your phone will play via this little rubber streamer right to your earbuds. Love that sound quality. At $69, you’d expect some cut corners, but not here. This is pure quality and great design. An optimal gadget, truly.
You control the device from three embossed buttons on the Ribbon. They let you play and pause music, control volume, skip tracks and even answer calls.
Another cool feature. The Ribbon lets you connect to any car or home stereo device with an AUX port. All you do is plug the device in to its 3.5 mm adapter, and you can cruise with the safety of hands-free listening.
Here’s the really fun part — you’re also able to use the Ribbon to make and answer calls. A click of the middle button will answer the call. A double-click will stop the music and place a call using Siri in Apple iOS or Google Voice Actions in Android. It’ll even read your text messages to you.
That way, you just leave the phone in your purse or pocket and you still get to respond to texts as soon as you need to. And, because the controls on the Ribbon are raised, touch control alone makes them readily accessible.
The Ribbon will also let you connect your Android phone or Apple iPhone 5 to devices that may only have the old iPod adapter port.
I encountered no glitches when testing this device. That almost never happens in reviews, as any tech reviewer will tell you. Do realize that its Bluetooth connection will start to flake when you get about 20 feet or more from your streaming device. But no one is really expecting long-range Bluetooth connections here.
This is a great bang for the buck accesssory I highly recommend — quality design and a terrific and great-sounding streaming music experience to boot. I say — go for it.
Image credits: Sandy Berger
Based in Pinehurst, North Carolina, Sandy Berger is a veteran tech journalist and senior editor at aNewDomain.net covering tech tips and tricks, apps, gadgets, and consumer electronics. Email her at Sandy@aNewDomain.net. Follow her on Twitter @sandyberger, +SandyBerger on Google+, and on Facebook.