Now that the holidays are coming to a close, I’m sure many of you out there are in search of some much needed accessories for your new presents, be it a case to protect your device from total catastrophe, or maybe something to expand the usefulness beyond what was included in the box. As a self-proclaimed audiophile, I work tirelessly researching the latest advancements in related technology. I am happy to report that I have stumbled upon a gold mine for audio aficionados everywhere who want to experience some truly edge-of-your-seat sound over Bluetooth : the Sony BM10 Bluetooth Receiver.
Off the bat, I will admit that I have bias when it comes to the BlackBerry brand, so I will attempt to make this review as universal as possible. It is a FACT that aptX support is an inherent part of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, meaning that ALL BlackBerry 10 devices support the aptX codec. However, aptX is not limited to just BlackBerry devices; you’ll find support on many other devices as well — you just need to check with the manufacturer of your device (specification sheets are the easiest route) to determine if aptX is present. If it is, read on to learn how to take advantage of this feature. If not, might I recommend a BlackBerry 10 device?
So what is aptX? To be blunt, Bluetooth audio streaming for things such as music and movies (basically any sound that comes from your device that isn’t a phone call) has been garbage prior to aptX for many years. On paper it worked as intended, but in practice, it was muffled and choppy. Despite the lackluster performance, I stuck with Bluetooth audio streaming because I saw the potential it held for entertainment, and honestly, CSR (the creator of the aptX codec) revived the relevance of Bluetooth audio streaming on mobile devices. The aptX codec takes the audio from your device (i.e. Music, Movies, Games) and preserves its original quality during transmission so that what you hear is practically CD quality (sometimes better in my book). If you have trouble with discerning the difference in equalizer settings, then this process may not have as much of an impact on your listening experience. For those who need pristine audio quality and wireless freedom, aptX is absolutely the way to go. There is a catch with aptX: both devices (transmitter and receiver) MUST support it. Enter the Sony BM10.
Again, my bias is shamelessly apparent here, but with your BlackBerry 10 device (transmitter) natively supporting aptX, you also need to have a receiver that can decode it. The Sony BM10 not only does the receiver job without a hitch, it does so with a 100m projected range (Bluetooth Class 1 device). In non-metric terms, that’s over 300ft of potential distance you can travel away from the Sony BM10 with your device and still maintain a signal. As with aptX, to see such wireless range, BOTH devices MUST be Bluetooth Class 1. The BlackBerry Passport is a Bluetooth Class 1 device as is the BlackBerry Q10. This means both phones are geared towards long range high quality audio transmission at the highest level. If your device is NOT Bluetooth Class 1, don’t worry ; you’ll get a more limited wireless range (about 10m or so), but the Bluetooth Class variation will not affect the audio quality one bit. A rule of thumb on Bluetooth device classes: if the devices do not have the exact same class, expect the range to be 10m by default, though your results may be greater.
I’ve preached about the beauty of aptX before with my opinion of the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds (waterproof earbuds with aptX) , but for a home or vehicle setup, the Sony BM10 is a powerhouse. If you haven’t experienced aptX (especially on BlackBerry 10 devices), that’s a feature that will leave you stunned, even moreso if you’ve learned to accept the quality that standard Bluetooth audio has to offer. Your music, movies, games, they will all burst to life in a way that was typically accomplished through a wired connection. For the music connoisseurs, if you add FLAC audio files to the mix (BlackBerry 10 now supports FLAC), the effects become that much more intense.
The Sony BM10 is a Bluetooth Receiver. The only things required for it to work are a power source (a micro USB wall charger setup such as the stock charger included with BlackBerry 10 devices does the trick) and a speaker setup of your choosing. It does not need an amplifier. After that, it needs to be paired with your device (the NFC support makes that a breeze) and you’ll soon be on your way to rediscovering Bluetooth audio streaming the way it was meant to be heard. Once you do, you might want to keep a separate charger for your transmitting device (your phone, tablet, etc.) because I guarantee you’ll spend some time throwing everything you have at it.
Now that I’ve thoroughly “geeked” out on the subject, the Sony BM10 price point is slightly under $100 USD, but for the return, every penny can be justified. Play your favorite song, watch your favorite movie, and fire up your favorite game. Once you witness it for yourself, you’ll probably end up listing a bunch of vintage audio equipment on eBay. It’s undeniably that good!