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Review: The Inateck BR1001 lets you stream music to any speakers

Posted Apr 15, 2015 by James Walker
The Inateck BR1001 Bluetooth audio receiver lets you play music wirelessly from a mobile device through any set of speakers. It is a useful addition to the home of any tech-lover and can also be used while on the move.
The Inateck BR1001 audio receiver
The Inateck BR1001 audio receiver
Inateck
The device is a tiny square unit that will fit easily around any stereo. The rear of the unit contains its connections: a 3.5mm port for connecting to your speakers and a micro USB charging port. A small LED on the top shows the connection status of the device.
The BR1001 really is tiny. It fits easily into the palm of a hand and is very unobtrusive. You can easily hide it on a bookshelf or under a desk and the simple styling lets it blend in anywhere.
The Inateck BR1001 audio receiver
The Inateck BR1001 audio receiver
Inateck
The receiver has a built-in battery that means you can take it with you and use it on the go. It could be useful if you are delivering a presentation and need wireless audio support or just want to kick back in a lunch break but realistically I think that most people will use it like I did: Connecting it to a stereo at home and leaving it there.
I rigged it up with my Philips MC147 which is a decent but budget-friendly micro system I've owned for a while. Its stereo speakers produce room-filling sound and allowed me to effectively test the quality of music streamed via the Inateck.
The Inateck BR1001 audio receiver
The Inateck BR1001 audio receiver
To start streaming audio, you first need to pair the receiver to your device. You hold the button on top for a few seconds and wait for the device to appear in the list of available Bluetooth devices on your phone. It should be compatible with all modern Bluetooth devices capable of playing audio.
I tested the unit with my Nokia Lumia 1520 Windows Phone. The device was paired within seconds. I then tested the sound quality using a selection of music tracks downloaded from Spotify Premium.
All sound from the phone is routed over the Bluetooth connection to the Inateck audio receiver and from there to the speakers. It is an easy way to get much better sound quality from your phone than its own speaker will be capable of producing.
The Inateck BR1001 audio receiver
The Inateck BR1001 audio receiver
Music sounded like the high quality I was used to from the speakers. This indicates that the Inateck was streaming the sound correctly and wasn't losing any data along the way.
All of the tracks I played through the unit sounded identical to playing them directly over a 3.5mm audio connection. I also played the popular racing game Asphalt 8 on my Lumia with the Inateck connected. Playing games with the sound coming through high-quality speakers dramatically improves the experience as the punchy tones of the soundtrack could be fully appreciated. Again, it didn't seem like any data was being lost in transmission.
An interesting feature of the BR1001 is its ability to handle voice calls. I'm not entirely sure when this would ever be useful and I never got round to testing it. Besides, the unit was placed too far away from my desk for its tiny mic on the top to be able to pick up much sound.
Nevertheless, the functionality is there if you want it. I suppose that it could be good to be able to use your speakers as a speakerphone but I do question how many people would ever use an audio receiver for this.
I encountered an interesting quirk with the device which I am pretty certain is caused by my Windows Phone that it was connected to. The manual says that holding in the main button for around 4 seconds will automatically dial your last dialled number on your phone.
For me, this didn't happen. I was surprised to find that Microsoft's digital voice assistant on Windows Phone, Cortana, actually opened and began listening for commands. For me personally, this is actually much more useful than auto-dialling my last number but it is an unexpected behaviour and I'm not exactly sure how it happens.
I have only a few minor gripes with the BR1001. The first is that the device almost seems too light. If you knock the cables going into it, the unit itself will often move where it is placed.
The second is that turning the device on and off requires holding the central button in for a considerable length of time, around 3-4 seconds. I would have definitely preferred a simple switch or toggle button.
I really like being able to play music from my phone and have it come out of my speakers though. The Lumia's 6-inch screen makes it great for watching videos but the experience is dramatically improved by having the soundtrack come through a decent set of speakers.
The Inateck Bluetooth audio receiver is a really useful product to have that I think most people could appreciate. It allowed me to play music through my high-quality speakers wirelessly from my phone instead of powering up my computer or putting on a CD.
It is also a bargain compared with other Bluetooth audio receivers and has the benefits of a tiny compact size and the ability to take it out with you and use on the move. It is currently priced at £13.99 in the UK on Amazon — reduced from £25.99 — or $13.99 in the US, down from $29.99. A promotion in the US at the moment lasting until the end of this week means that you can get a further $2 off to bring the price right down to just $11.99 by using the promo code 856JBZUC at the checkout.