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MEGATech Reviews: Tunai Wand Bluetooth Transmitter
Have you ever wanted to listen to your TV (or almost any audio source, really) using wireless Bluetooth headphones? With the Tunai Wand, you can... and it can be had for as little as $15.
Pros
  • Multiple input options
  • Sleek, compact design
  • Works exactly as advertised
Cons
  • No display for pairing
  • Imperfect connectivity
8.5Overall Score

This whole uptick in wireless technology goes well beyond smartphones losing their headphone jacks. There are several reasons why you might want to use a set of wireless headphones with your television, and you might be looking for a solution that is simple yet robust, full-featured yet affordable. The Tunai Wand could be just the thing. I know it's been for me.

Solving a Common Problem

MEGATech Reviews: Tunai Wand Bluetooth Transmitter

We've written about the Tunai brand before, particularly in terms of their Bluetooth products. I currently use the Tunai Firefly in my car, for example, so I can more easily play online streaming music from my phone through my car's speakers. And then there's the Tunai Clip to transform your wired headphones into wireless Bluetooth headphones.

Both of those products recognized a common problem that people may have -- lack of Bluetooth in the car or with their current headphones -- and addressed them simply and affordably. The Tunai Wand is much the same, except it goes about it in the exact opposite direction. Whereas both the Tunai Firefly and Tunai Clip work as Bluetooth receivers, the Tunai Wand is a Bluetooth transmitter.

For my part, the main usage scenario is at night after I've put the kid down to sleep. Our living room is right next to her bedroom, so I've never been able to watch Netflix any louder than at a whisper if she's already down for the night. The alternative has been to watch on a tablet with some headphones. With the Tunai Wand, I can do the headphones thing, but with my actual big screen TV instead. It's so beautiful in its simplicity.

Tunai Wand Input Options

MEGATech Reviews: Tunai Wand Bluetooth Transmitter

I should briefly preface this by saying that I received a pre-production model of this device, so the final retail version may vary slightly. Based on what I got, the Tunai Wand isn't much bigger than a USB flash drive. The ends are square and the main body seems to be metal. This really gives the feel of a premium product, though I found the semi-clear plastic cap -- which serves both as the LED indicator and as a button -- felt a little flimsy by comparison. Not really sure what can be done to address that.

As far as input, you should have all your bases covered here. For connecting to your television, likely the most preferred option is the optical audio input at the end of the Tunai Wand. Barring that, there's also a standard aux-in port (which can work with the provided red and white RCA adapter cables if you'd like) and a microUSB port. The latter is required to provide power, but it can also be used as an audio input at the same time.

At first, I was a little confused about the pairing process. Since neither the transmitter (Tunai Wand) nor the receiver (e.g., your Bluetooth headphones) have a display, it's not immediately obvious how you can "select" the pairing. What you end up doing is putting both into pairing mode within close proximity of one another, ideally with no other active Bluetooth devices nearby. Give it a few seconds and the LED will go from flashing to solid, indicating that they've paired up.

A Colorful Pair

MEGATech Reviews: Tunai Wand Bluetooth Transmitter

Remember how I mentioned that the Tunai Wand has no display on it? That doesn't mean you won't have any idea what's going on. The clear plastic cap gets illuminated by the multicolor LED underneath it. When it's glowing white, that means you're using the analog input (aux-in), blue is for the optical input and red is for micro USB.

If it's blinking, that means the Tunai Wand is in pairing mode and if the LED is solid, then it means that it has connected. The LED turns itself off after a period of inactivity, so you don't have to worry about the unnecessary distraction while enjoying the latest episode of Everything Sucks or Jessica Jones.

The wireless range is as you might expect from just about every other Bluetooth device, and this will vary greatly based on the specific configuration of your home. They say this is up to 164 feet "in open air," which is apparently "on eof the longest on the market."

The audio would start to stutter as soon as there was a wall between us, but you're probably not "watching" TV from behind a wall. Based on the promotional images, Tunai recommends that you affix the Wand to the side of your television, but I left it dangling off the back.

The audio stuttered a little in the first couple seconds, but it was otherwise steady for the rest of time I was using it. I imagine the connection would be even better if I placed the Wand in front of the TV instead of behind it. The Wand also supports parallel streaming for up to two devices, and the aptX low latency technology virtually eliminates concerns over lip sync delays. Long story short, it works exactly as you hope it would.

MEGATechie Magic Wand or MEGATechie Feeling Blue?

MEGATech Reviews: Tunai Wand Bluetooth Transmitter

When I shared a picture of the Tunai Wand on my Instagram earlier this week, a friend asked if my TV or soundbar supported Bluetooth streaming to headphones. I know that my Sonos PLAYBAR does not and I haven't really tried with my Samsung smart TV. Maybe it does. But this is the same kind of scenario that people may encounter where the Tunai Firefly is a great solution.

If you don't have a TV or soundbar that supports Bluetooth streaming to headphones, you can use the Tunai Wand as an easy fix. And even if your TV or soundbar does support Bluetooth streaming, the Wand can still offer some advantages like streaming to two headphones at once, the extended range, and the lip sync delay mitigation.

The Tunai Wand is expected to have an MSRP of $59.99 when it launches later this year. Check the Kickstarter draft page for more information, and that crowdfunding campaign should kick off next month too. The Super Early Bird pledge level is just $15 and that gets you one Wand, representing a 75% savings on what will be the full retail price.


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