We'll plainly admit, going into this hands-on, we didn't think much of Motorola's ROKR EQ5 -- or the whole concept of a portable A2DP speaker, for that matter. Stereo Bluetooth has a nasty habit of detuning audio quality just enough to make it noticeable for folks that are paying close attention to their music, and portable speakers have a nasty habit of just not sounding very good in general. Not a winning combination.

Happily, our misgivings here were largely unfounded. The prototype unit we tested looked great, felt great in the hand, and slides into just about any pant or bag pocket for safe stowage. It paired like a champ with a Samsung BlackJack II and a Nokia N95 8GB (in fact, we had no manual and still managed to get it working on the first try, so that's quite a testament to the ease of use). The thing was plenty loud and clear for quick 'n dirty use as a pocket boombox -- we could've used lots more bass, but that was to be expected. Basically, sound-wise, the EQ5 seems to do the most it can with its limited dimensions.

It doubles as a serviceable speakerphone, and a 3.5mm line-in jack allows the less Bluetooth-inclined of your audio devices to get in on the action. We didn't test battery life (nor would it be a fair test, since this is a preproduction unit), but the rated 8 hours should give you plenty of time to rock out -- and thankfully, it charges off a standard microUSB cable. Overall, we're really impressed; converted, even. We never would've seen ourselves picking up a device like this, but you've shown us the light, Moto. Now just try that same trick with your phones, would you?

Motorola ROKR EQ5 hands-on

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