Review: Nyne Cruiser Bluetooth speaker

Small speaker offers pleasing sounds with additional bar mounting options (June 13th, 2014)

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Product Manufacturer: Nyne

Price: $79.95

The Good

  • Easy to use controls
    - Sound quality
    - Travel options

The Bad

  • Button delay
    - Charge time
    - Some bass distortion

Adding a new option of portability to a Bluetooth speaker is no easy task. While many speakers are made for people on the go, they are meant to be packed away while people move about. Instead of being able to listen to them while traveling, they are left in a bag or backpack, unutilized. Nyne is looking to change that with its Cruiser speaker. The Cruiser includes a set of clips to hold the speaker in place while out walking with a baby in a stroller, or on the handlebars of a bike. But would the speaker still be functional and worth using for people on the move?

The Nyne Cruiser is a small, compact speaker, keeping some of the same eye-shaped styling cues as other offerings from the company. While it isn't palm-sized, at 5.7 x 3.35 x 2.95 inches, it is still small enough to be carried around with ease. Design of the unit is appealing, using a solid color to break up some of the base black of the speaker. Nyne offers the speaker in four different color combinations with basic colors in black, white and gray. Outside of the aluminum grill, the Cruiser features a rubberized coating on its surfaces.

Button orientation on the Cruiser offers something a little different than what consumers may be used to on a Bluetooth speaker. Rather than having buttons on the side or along a top edge, the Cruiser has a control scheme that puts them vertically on the right side of its face. Buttons like play/pause that are used frequently are placed at the top of the column, with the track-forward button sitting at the bottom. One would think that it would be an awkward series to use, but it feels natural. There is a delay when hitting them for navigation, upwards of a second in some instances.

Using the Cruiser on the go is an easy task. First, the unit comes with a neoprene case with a carabiner that can be attached to a belt or bag for music on the go. Nyne has offered the same case on other speakers like the TT, but somehow it makes more sense for the Cruiser. That isn't to say the case is perfect; it had some issues with the stitching securing the end of the zipper, and the carabiner feels cheap.

A system of clips are included to attach the speaker to handlebars or other cylindrical objects. Two clips snap into the bottom of the Cruiser, featuring an opening in them about one inch in diameter at full extension. The clips do have some allowances for something bigger because of the rubber inserts, but it isn't much. Each unit can be adjusted to go smaller as well. Nyne has even included additional strips of rubber to fit inside the clips for a better fit.

The clamping system works well, gripping firmly on whatever it was attached to. The bar that we tested the clamps on required the use of the additional inserts to get a tight grip. However, the Cruiser held fast on the bar. Since the clamp can be adjusted, it prevents the Cruiser from either spinning or sliding around if it isn't secure. Of course, there may be some objects that it won't be able to adjust enough to keep those situations from occurring.

Charging other devices can also be done with the Cruiser and its 2,200 mAh battery. On the back of the unit next to the charging port, the off/on switch and the 3.5 mm auxiliary input, it has a 5V, 1A USB port. Like the TT, the unit will adjust the volume down to a level of eight when charging. This helps slow down how fast the battery depletes. It has a life of eight to 10 hours of use, but it takes about 4.5 hours to charge. The Cruiser will also shut itself off after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Connecting the Cruiser to other devices is as simple as with any other Bluetooth 4.0 device. Pairing and use modes are indicated by blue and purple LEDs. The device also makes use of quick NFC pairing on its left side. The Cruiser is quick to pair to the device it had previously been paired with when turned off. When in use over Bluetooth, the speaker starts to cut out after 30 feet. It can also function as a passable speakerphone without much distortion in voice.

The Cruiser favors bass in its sound, but doesn't muddy the mids much. In fact, the entire range of sound seems rich and crisp. High notes stand out above everything else, as they should, without being encroached upon by mids or bass. Mid-level sounds still feel like they have some bleed over from the bass, but it isn't enough to affect the overall sound. Bass does distort slightly at high levels. It feels loud, but it isn't overpowering. The Cruiser would find a comfortable home on many desks.

The unit carries 2 x 5 watts of power through a pair of drivers 1.5 inches in size. It also utilizes a passive radiator to help give a deeper bass sound. The overall sound of the speaker contains characteristics similar to the larger TT, but without as much drop off and inconsistencies during testing. The sound curve for recorded volume dB levels at three feet were much smoother.

Each song had an softer curve across each distance tested. The bass-heavy "Hunter" dropped almost the same percentage each 25 percent of volume. "Welcome Home" and "Notorious," on the other hand, started off with almost no change until they hit the 50 percent mark. Drop off from 50 to 25 percent was much greater, but this was seen in the TT as well. Volume levels never dropped more than 15.5 percent when moved from one to nine feet in distance. At a distance of three feet, dB levels shifted no more than 6.9 percent at the top and bottom testing points.

Nyne's Cruiser provides customers with a compact, portable speaker with great sound. Even though many people may never use the clamping system, it isn't something that gets in the way. Paired with the sound quality, easy-to-use buttons and the added use options, the Cruiser can be pleasing to work with in a number of situations. With some of the issues in the sound inconsistency disappearing from its bigger sibling, the Cruiser is delightful to hear as well. The $80 price tag isn't something to cringe at either. In fact, it is welcoming for such a great speaker.

by Jordan Anderson


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