Motorola Stream

A mere $50 gets you a good Bluetooth music streaming device from Motorola

This, folks, is the Moto Stream. It's a Bluetooth device that kicks music from your phone into a proper set of speakers. And that's all it is. It's not the Nexus Q reborn. For one, it's much smaller. And while it's cute in that icosahedronic sort of way, it just doesn't have the same feel that the Nexus Q did. Yes, both flash lights at you, but the Motorola Stream does so in a more muted, understated way. Not in that same sort of "Take me to your leader" way.

What the Moto Stream is, we'll tell you, is about $250 cheaper than the Nexus Q — which by the way was never actually sold — and is available now from Motorola for $49.99.

Motorola Stream
When one device takes over for another, the colors change.

Never mind the design — there's really no reason to overthink this device. It's a basic Bluetooth streamer that allows up to five devices to pair at once. (If you've ever used the BlackBerry Music Gateway, it's sort of like that.) Each gets its own color code, and each can interrupt the playback from any of the other connected devices. When they do so, their color will flash on the four front-facing panels. (Or five once you peel off the NFC sticker — and it's made to come off.) You'll have to know what your color is if you care about who's streaming, of course.

Pairing is easy enough — tap to initiate via NFC. Tap again to unpair. To kill the party outright, there's an on/off button.

Motorola Stream

The Moto Stream is powered by microUSB — and the included cable is nice and long. Music gets to your speakers by 3.5mm jack. That cable's not included, but Motorola was kind enough to slip one in for going from 3.5mm to RCA, which is nice. There's nothing in the way of documentation in the box (at least there wasn't in ours), so you're sort of left to your own devices to figure out all this. On the bottom of the box, however, you will learn that it supports A2DP, HF and AVRCP profiles. (No mention of aptX anywhere.)

The other spec of note is that Motorola claims a 300-foot working distance for the Stream. That is, you could be a football field away and still keep the party going. That'll vary a little bit depending on your phone and any interference (if you're indoors, expect things like walls and other devices to get in the way, perhaps). But for all intents and purposes in our limited testing, range seemed to be pretty good.


Reader comments

The Moto Stream: A simple, angular way of playing music with friends


Yeah, even on Amazon, you can usually get one with an internal battery (good for 10h) for like $30 or less. I've used a Miccus Blubridge RX for a few years, no complaints. The NFC and five device pairing on the Moto is unique tho, I can see the appeal for parties...

If you're using a TV then Chromecast makes perfect sense. But if you're just trying to connect speakers (Backyard BBQ, Beach, Picnic) then this sounds like a great idea

Over a BT device with actual speakers? Not to mention wireless. I don't get it over an adapter you could get for a few bucks (minus the purdy colors). Maybe it's just me.

an HDMI audio extractor would work well. Takes in HDMI content and outputs RCA audio. I would do that over this Motorola device. I have NFC tags that can connect friends to my network too so tap to connect is not a compelling feature with this device

The Chromecast already does this. That's what. You don't have to connect it to a TV. Any receiver made in this decade will work. The only thing Chromecast requires Wi-Fi so this would be good if you were out and about with a bunch of people at a place that didn't already have music. Rare for me.

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I didn't realize the chromecast had a speaker on it. So chromecast does exactly what this does... Except you need a WiFi source and something to plug it into in order to get sound. Other than that it is exactly the same.

I got it in an email today but I'd seen it on here before "JUSTBECAUSE10" is the code to get 10% off of accessories.

Just ordered one. I have been looking for a simple streaming solution and this looks like exactly what I need.

And, what's your point? If it was to make yourself look smart or me stupid, you failed. I haven't been looking for a simple streaming device for a decade.

Someone please tell me ya'll are gonna do a contest for one.

That said, two months ago I spent 40 bucks on a BT4.0 adapter uglier than this for my nightstand to give new life to the iPod dock that served as my alarm clock until Tasker and Google Play Music All Access decided to make my musical dreams come to life (aka, I use Tasker to wake up to ANY music I want). And after seeing the Stream, I cursed out loud. In the newsroom. I felt like such a fool. TWO MONTHS. TWO! MONTHS!! WAH!!!!!

It's not a speaker... What it does is eliminate the need for one set of speakers to pair with 5 different machines... Which in most cases cannot be done all at the same time.

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Sure, but that would be a pretty crappy speaker... Not saying they aren't useful, cause I use that kinda thing for the beach or or travel...

Alternatively, you could use this to pair devices to a much higher quality sound system... Doesn't have to break the bank, a Topping T-amp for like $75 plus a pair of entry level bookshelf speakers for $50-100 (Pioneer's SP-BS line by Andrew Jones for instance) plus something like this Moto adapter will absolutely blow away any dock / BT speaker regardless of cost (and there are plenty of those that cost over $200 and aren't worth half that).

Preach! I was thinking of something like this + Lepai 20W amp + bookshelf speakers = a pretty kick but mini sound system.

Yeah, a Lepai amp would be even better for a budget setup...

I mostly use my Miccus BT receiver with an old Logitech speaker dock (mm30 or something) that I got on clearance when Circuit City or CompUSA went under. It was like $50, runs on four AA Eneloops, and sounds as good or better than any of the dozens of pricey $100-$300 docks you see around now. I leave it in my car, that's basically my portable party/social gathering setup.

The two sets of decent speakers at home are hooked up to either my desktop (STX card) or Denon AVR + Chromecast. I've got a pair of Samson powered monitors I was gonna hook up with BT for the bedroom tho... But the Moto adapter is a little pricey after shipping (particularly if you don't care for the multi device pairing.

Will phones repair automatically when it's left connected and the phone enters it's range? I have two similar devices and the battery powered one doesn't repair but it also auto sleeps anyway... The Logitech one I have does repair. I guess with NFC on board it's trivial to reconnect either way.

Apt-X is overrated, at least on the two adapters I've tried it on (one by HTC, the other by LG)... Couldn't tell a difference vs other regular A2DP adapters. There are a couple different implementations of apt-X tho, but I don't think any mobile devices are using the lossles one which would probably make a difference, I could be mistaken tho.

I ran my comparison with a car stereo AND at home with a decent pair of powered monitor speakers btw. I think these days most phones / tablets tend to use a better level of BT compression than back in the day, probably fine for most situations short of hifi speakers or expensive $500+ headphones with dedicated amps etc.

That's pretty cool. I use a bluetooth speaker at rehearsal which works great when I'm playing music from my phone. When I don't have a tune that someone else does I need to unpair, then the other dude needs to pair. Then when we need to switch back to my phone he needs to unpair, then I need to pair. Gets real silly and annoying fast. This would solve it, but there are so many toys on the horizon this will need to wait. Saving my penny's for G3, and or moto 360! This however is definitely going on the Christmas list :)

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Would work fine, but there are better BT steamers for the car that have a mic for call functionality and / or a better form factor for leaving in the car (like plugging directly into the 12 outlet).

Check out the Kinivo BTC450, the mic/remote is a nice feature for the car. Best one I've seen is the Kensington Liquid Aux because it includes a wireless remotel you can attach to the steering wheel (it's so tiny it looks stock, I've been using it for nearly five years in my '07 Civic), sadly it's discontinued.

This would be great for my upcoming road trip. If only it was available in Canada.

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Other similar devices that have a rechargeable battery would be better for a road trip I would think, assuming you'll be using battery powered speakers... Tho the BT 3.0 range on this is nice, and some portable speakers have USB charge ports, it'll discharge quicker but OTOH you have one less thing to charge.

Hey Phil do the people paired to the Moto Stream have the ability to add tracks to a queue like Sonos, or can they only "heist" the music? If they can all add to a queue, this is going on the pontoon boat.

I'd like to know this too! Will this continually play queued songs from 5 devices like a jukebox? What happens if you try to add a 6th device? Does it kick out the 1st?
Phil, we need a more complete review!

I don't really have a use for this (I have a JLAB Crasher that would make this redundant), but it's pretty damn cool-looking, and I really like NFC tap to pair.

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A lack of aptX would really kill the jam, although I haven't every really heard bluetooth audio that I found acceptable. I couldn't imagine using this.

Now on the other hand, an audio-only device that supported the chromecast protocol I would find interesting.

Wow I really want this. This will be great for listening to music in my dorm room next year. Especially since the audio jack on my laptop is really shitty and requires an almost perfect positioning to maintain connection. Also great that 5 devices can connect so we can take turns playing music without having to repair devices all the time.

I backed Gramofon on kickstarter and I think it's almost exactly what I've been looking for except that if I understand correctly anyone who wants to add a song to the queue has to be a Spotify subscriber?

With the initial description mentioning the Nexus Q I was hoping this would be able to directly power a pair of speakers like the Nexus Q could. As I would still need to connect this through my old Hi-Fi it's much less useful to me.

As my Hi-Fi is infrequently used and uses way too much standby power I have to switch it on at the plug whenever I want to use it, and turning on and pairing my old Bluetooth headphones I have already hooked up to an input on the Hi-Fi isn't that much more effort.

What I need is something like this, that also has an built-in amp capable of powering a decent pair of speakers, a line-in for my computer, with a low standby power usage so I can leave it on all the time, and a smartphone app to control it. And also available at a good price.

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Hopefully this isn't junk like many other "BT receivers" are. Of course BT is not HI-FI, but close enough for many situations. Any (spare) powered PC speakers would work. I can't wait to see an actual review like in Consumer Reports.

Got mine today FedEx and the included mini to stereo rca plugs work great going into an Input on my DAC so my main stereo rig is now connected. Sounds great so far streaming from nexus 7.2 using Player Pro and all the settings/eq options that player has.... Got great sound here DAC/preamp/amp then main bookshelf speaker's.... Shpongle is sounding excellent from a mp3 on the nexus.

I'm glad I grabbed one!!!!

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Would you be so kind as to pair two devices to it and tell us, can both devices add tracks to a queue of songs that play in the order that they were added like a jukebox? Or can only one person at a time stream to it?

There is no mention of a cue, 5 devices connect, whoever hits play starts, so if I decide your tune s__ks and hit play on my device , jump cuts to mine...Heist mode.
Thats the way I read the description of Heist mode which is only option you have with multiple its a music battle or whatever somebody plays on their device (ie sound of latest fart app or soundboard on device).
The owners mini sized manual tells you hook up, pairing options, and few sentences to describe Heist mode which is the only option that I see.

A quick aside I'm a retired musician and audiofool and the sound quality is extremely good 4 hours so far.

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