- Easy and convenient
- Handy cable management
- Built-in HD microphone
- Audio performance
- Wireless range challenges
Do you have one of those newfangled smartphones where the manufacturer took the "courageous" move of eliminating the headphone jack? Don't throw away all of your existing earbuds and headphones just yet! You can effectively add wireless Bluetooth connectivity to just about anything using the handy-dandy Tunai Clip Bluetooth headphone amplifier.
A Convenient Wireless Audio Solution
In effect, the Tunai Clip offers many of the same features and functions as the Tunai Firefly Bluetooth Music Receiver I reviewed a short while back. The main difference, of course, is that this version is portable with its own built-in battery. You don't need to plug it into a USB port for power; you just need to plug it into a USB port to charge that battery when it runs dry.
Tunai Creative has included an extra short microUSB-to-USB charging cable for this purpose -- the microUSB port is found on the back of the device next to the eponymous clip -- but there is no wall adapter or 12V car adapter. You'll need to provide that on your own (or plug it into your computer, if you prefer). Along with the device and the charging cable, you'll find a basic set of instructions.
The other obvious difference is that the Tunai Clip also comes with its own set of on-board controls. The five-way navigation will feel familiar to anyone who has touched any sort of audio device in the last few decades. The play/pause button is in the center, up and down are for volume, and left and right are for moving around your playlist. There's also a power button above that and single LED indicator light.
Tunai Clip at a Glance
When you put the Clip away, or even when it is in use for that matter, you can wrap your headphone cord around the outside the rubbery flaps will reasonably keep them in place. This is great when you want to clip the device a little higher up on your clothing, for example, without having to deal with the extra slack on the wire. It's not the most elegant thing in the world, but it definitely works.
The metal clip, measuring not quite 2 centimeters across, is well built with a robust spring. There's no concern there and I very happily clipped it to the bottom of my hoodie. This gave me easy access to the audio controls while out and about without having to whip out my phone.
And while you may be naturally inclined to pair the Clip with a set of earphones or earbuds, you could just as easily use them with something like the HyperX Cloud Revolver instead. It's up to you, since the Clip provides "lossless conversion of any audiophile headphones for wireless use with your smartphone."
Daily Use and Audio Quality
Pairing my phone (the ZTE Axon Pro in this case) with the Tunai Clip couldn't be easier. You press the power button once to turn it on, hold the power button to enter pairing mode, and look for it on your phone. There's no passcode, so recognize that the Clip will be discoverable by all nearby devices. After the initial pairing, it'll auto-reconnect to your phone each time it turns on.
I was initially concerned that the on-board controls would feel "squishy" from the look of the rubberized exterior. Those concerns were quickly squashed, as the mechanical buttons are definitely very "clicky." I was also concerned that I would hit the power button unintentionally. That never happened, as the button travel is far enough to avoid it.
As far as audio quality is concerned, this will naturally depend on the quality of the headphones you're using too. I tried a few different sets and found that audio performance was mostly just okay. There's not really enough "amplification" here for a richer, fuller sound, but that's the trade you get for better battery life. I also found that the 30-foot theoretical Bluetooth range is just about right. I couldn't really leave my phone charging in one room in my house and go off listening at the other end, especially when I went to a different floor.
MEGATechie Clippy Convenience or MEGATechie Clippy Confusion?
The fundamental function of the Tunai Clip is similar to that of the Tunai Firefly. It's a stop-gap solution until you fully adopt wireless everything. In the case of the Firefly, it's perfect for a car (or home) stereo where you have an aux-in jack but you don't have Bluetooth. In the case of the Clip, you have regular headphones that you want to connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone.
When we inevitably move to wireless everything -- products like the Apple AirPods are certainly moving us in that direction -- solutions like the Tunai Clip are going to be mostly obsolete. In the meantime, though, this is a great way to keep your smartphone stowed away while still enjoying music on your favorite set of headphones.
The Tunai Clip is simple, functional and affordable, selling for $59.99 online. Just don't expect exceptional audio or a stellar wireless range.