Monster hotshot wireless speaker.jpgWhen you’re lining up some smooth tunes to keep you company, the last thing you want is the stress of a difficult set-up. Everything seems to be going wireless nowadays, from cameras to keyboards, and Monster pulls off the art of the wireless speaker beautifully—no stressful fiddling necessary.

 

The Monster SuperStar Hotshot’s features

The first thing that I noticed about the Monster SuperStar Hotshot Bluetooth Wireless Speaker is that it’s tiny—but it sounds like a much bigger speaker. It’s a mere 200 grams and not even 4 inches tall, and comes equipped with Bluetooth and NFC for easy pairing and audio streaming.

The Hotshot also comes with an integrated speakerphone, so you can stream your conference calls and video chats right through this little Monster (hah!) if you so choose. On my iPhone, I also have the option to not stream through the Hotshot, and I usually opt to use my phone’s speakers during calls instead. It’s far less frightening that way!

In terms of the “guts” of the Monster Hotshot, this speaker is built with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that offers up to 8 hours of use. If you’re playing music off of an old mp3 or something similar, there’s also a 3.5mm stereo analog input for you to use; of course, you’ll need to provide your own input cord to hook your tech up. Also in the box is a carabiner, which clips handily to the Hotshot’s top loop, as well as a micro USB cord for easy charging through any USB block or port.

My favourite parts about the Hotshot

Monster hotshot speaker review.JPGFirst things first: the Hotshot is NOT some 2 kg, studio-grade speaker, and it’s not a metre-long $500 speaker with surround sound. It is a small, affordable, single-output wireless speaker, and it does its job beautifully.

You’re not going to get studio-quality sound from the Hotshot, but if you’re looking for clear sound, reliable audio streaming, and ease of use, then it’s definitely going to impress you. I managed to get this speaker set up in under 60 seconds including un-boxing, which (for someone who really struggles with Bluetooth technology) is pretty darn impressive.

To pair the Hotshot with any of your devices, simply turn on your Bluetooth or NFC and slide the Hotshot’s controls to the Bluetooth symbol to trigger the process. Your phone/tablet/laptop/magical unicorn device will pull the Hotshot up on its list of available devices, and that’s it! From there, just select and be on your way.

I was pleased to see that the Monster SuperShot Hotshot and my iPhone “remembered” each other throughout the week and a half that I tested this product, which meant that I had only to pair once the entire time. After that, all I needed to do was turn on the speaker, and after its little “bloop-de-bloop-de-blorp!” chime, it would be perfectly paired and would begin streaming uninterrupted audio.

I’ve noticed a single glitch in all of my hours of playback–not even a second long–and the quality of this speaker is better than even my similarly-sized corded speakers. While I haven’t tested how far I can separate the speaker from the device it’s paired with (this will vary depending on things like signal strength & what’s in between the two), I can safely leave the Hotshot at one end of the apartment, wander away to the other end with my phone, and still have no audio interruption or white noise.

This speaker’s output volume (helpfully controlled by your paired device rather than being a physical dial) affects the quality of sound only very minimally, and the Hotshot has the capacity to get louder than any of the devices I’ve paired it with, including my laptop.

Corner speaker Monster setup.JPGIn terms of weight and build, I can only continue to sing the Hotshot’s praises. It has a “rugged” look, and it performs accordingly. The speaker is wrapped with a shock-absorbent band, similar to what you’d see in a smartphone bumper case, and it has kept my speaker nice and safe so far!

A few final tips & tricks for using the Hotshot (and other portable speakers!) 

As with many small speakers, I find the Monster SuperShock Hotshot performs best with a little help. Whenever possible, I’ll set the Hotshot far back into a “cave” to help amplify the sound and give it a more textured overtone. It’s kind of like giving your small speaker its own concert hall: it sounds good on its own, but if you can make it sound more like a full orchestra, then why not?

So far, my favourite place to set up the Monster Hotshot is in the corner of a mostly-empty bookshelf tier, but it also performs very well on the counter underneath a built-in cupboard (which is perfect for when I’m washing dishes and can’t hear my phone’s speakers over the sound of the tap!)

Monster bluetooth speaker goes to the beach.JPGWhen choosing a location for your Hotshot, the same rules apply as for a larger speaker: position it facing the listener, and try to set it up at or just above ear level to maximize your listening enjoyment.

The only thing that bothered me about the Hotshot is that its system notification sounds (for pairing and powering on/off) aren’t controlled by your playback volume. So, if you’ve just taken your Hotshot on a lovely candlelit evening of quiet jazz and subdued tones, you may want to leave it on for the evening, lest you reawaken your senses and have to start your brain’s cool-down routine all over again!

And, finally, if you’re left questioning Monster’s inclusion of that carabiner: don’t. The Hotshot is perfect for hanging off of a bag or backpack (which is a great way to let bears know you’re in the area during all those summer hikes!), and it’s light enough that the added speaker weight won’t weigh your strap down. The carabiner is also ideal for taking your Hotshot to the beach–just secure the speaker to your beach bag or umbrella strap and it’ll never get lost!

For a reliable Bluetooth speaker to take with you on all of your summer excursions, be sure to try the new Bluetooth-enabled Monster SuperShock Hotshot Wireless speaker.