Signature Acoustics Robin Bluetooth Adapter Review

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Sagar Shaikh, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. Sagar Shaikh

    Sagar Shaikh New Member

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    Mod Edit: Kindly take note that the person who reviewed it works for the store that owns (and sends review units to others) the brand.

    There is no dearth of Bluetooth adapters in the country. However, Robin, which was just recently launched by Signature Acoustics (SA) claims to be the best Bluetooth transmitter and receiver in India.

    Now those are pretty tall claims. We’ll put them to the test in this review.

    First Impressions:
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    The packaging is pretty neat. The carbon black box has a premium feel to it – it seems well made and incorporates soft-touch cardboard.

    There is silver metallic SA logo and also a stylish ROBIN logo on the main box. The B in Robin looks like the Bluetooth symbol, giving us a hint of what’s inside.
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    Two smaller boxes are contained within the main box. One of them houses the accessories and the other holds the bluetooth adapter itself. There is also a manual at the bottom.

    Design:

    Robin looks different than most other adapters I’ve come across. It’s shaped like a cheese cube with rounded edges. I like the way it looks – maybe it’s because I like cheese very much.
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    The overall design is pretty straight-forward and easy-to-understand.

    The top features a transparent SA logo which glows blue or red to indicate various things (more on this later).
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    There’s a power ON and OFF button on one side. Right next to it is a switch to select TX (transmission) or RX (reception) mode.
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    The 3.5 mm female and micro-USB charging ports are located on another side panel. The entire unit weighs just 18 grams.
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    That’s all there’s to it!

    It is too early to comment on the build quality as of now as I have used ROBIN for only three-four days. What I can tell you is that it definitely doesn’t feel tacky and cheap. There are no gaps in the plastic or anything like that. On the contrary, Robin looks classy and several of my friends and colleagues asked me about it while I was using it.
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    This would also be a good time to mention that Robin comes with a standard one year warranty and Signature Acoustics is promising a FREE six month extended warranty if you register on their website. This should be confidence inspiring for potential buyers.

    Accessories included in box:

    My box contained 1 Robin, 1 manual, a 3.5mm connector, micro-USB to USB charging cable and an RCA to 3.5mm adapter.[​IMG]
    Is Robin easy to use?

    Hmmm….if you can read and follow simple instructions, then it’s pretty easy to use. There is nothing complicated about it. However, you do have to refer to the manual. This is because unlike most other bluetooth adapters which can only receive audio, Robin also has the ability to transmit sound. Moreover, it can also receive and transmit to 2 devices simultaneously. All this makes it a multi-function device.

    I recommend that you take 5 minutes to read the manual. Signature Acoustics has made it very easy to understand and so even a 10-12 year old can learn to operate Robin within minutes (I tried with my niece). Trust me, it doesn’t take long to check out the manual, it’s so short that it doesn’t even have page numbers.
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    The manual contains tables that indicate various patterns of the blue and red LEDs and what they mean. I took photos of these tables using my smartphone camera. This way, I don’t need to pull out the manual every-time I need to figure something out.

    Signature Acoustics has uploaded several How-to-use-Robin videos online. These should come in handy if you lose your manual or don’t like reading.

    On the whole, if I were to score Robin on the ease of use, I would give it a 7/10. 1 being the hardest and 10, the easiest. Actually, it deserves an even higher score as it is super easy to operate if you follow the manual. However, this means that you’ll actually have to read something – I don’t expect people to read ANYTHING now-a-days. Our attention spans have become way too short!

    Performance:

    Robin comes with a CSR BC 8670 chip-set (APT-X and Low Latency). This is an advanced chip set that, at least on paper, guarantees good performance. But how does all this translate into real word performance?
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    I connected Robin to an Audio Engine A5+ and streamed music using a smart phone. I found absolutely no lag between the sound and video. So yes, this indeed is a low latency device. But what about lossless transmission? I know from experience that bluetooth receivers cause a considerable degradation in the sound output. This is especially true with low grade models. They sound so terrible that they can make you wince, even when listening to your favorite song. So once I had successfully paired Robin, I braced myself for some awful audio but was pleasantly surprised that there was no noticeable loss in quality.

    Finally, a BT adapter that offers a no-compromise approach to fidelity! Whenever I tried connecting an BT receiver to some good speakers, I felt that I was doing injustice to them. The receiver hindered their performance so much and made them sound absolutely horrendous! But Robin is different. I was trying to remain objective and neutral. However, I would be lying if I said that Robin didn’t plant a wide smile on my face!

    The Robin can receive audio wirelessly from two devices at one. I mean, of course it doesn’t merge two songs into one. However, it can switch quickly between two sources without needing to go through the pairing process. So if I wanted to play a song from laptop and another from the mobile, I could do it almost instantly.

    I had borrowed a very good music player, iBasso DX-80 to be precise. It contained some very high quality tracks and Robin did a fantastic job of transmitting them to bluetooth speakers. It also pairs with earphones and headphones.

    The coolest thing that I liked most about robin is that it transformed my TV into a Bluetooth TV. I connected it to my TV, paired it with my BT headphones and watched Pirates Of The Caribbean without irritating my mother. This was a total win for me.

    If you have a non-BT TV and a non-BT earphone. You can connect them both to a Robin each then pair the Robins together to enjoy wireless audio.

    Robin vs Competition

    Honestly, I did find a couple of capable BT adapters online. However, I didn’t try them out because they were ridiculously expensive. I believe that these adapters are direct imports and there’ll be a bit of a problem if something goes wrong as there’s probably no after-sales support. So I personally wouldn’t call Robin the best bluetooth adapter in India as anyone can import something better (at a premium). However, it definitely is one of the best mass-produced BT adapters in the country.

    Currently, the top selling BT adapter in India is made by Logitech. However, it has several limitations in my view. It is only a receiver, not a transmitter. It requires continuous charging. It is not portable as it weighs almost two kgs. It is manufactured using much inferior technology and the quality of sound is average at best. It does not make sense to buy an expensive home theater or speaker and then using a mediocre BT adapter with it. Robin is the perfect solution to this problem.

    While other BT receivers and transmitters support either BT version 3.0 or 4.0, Robin is equipped with the latest version 4.1. So no wonder the performance is so good.

    Robin can be used in cars as well. However, it is solely for the purpose of listening to music as it does not have a microphone.
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    Pros:
    Convenient, multi-function transmitter as well as receiver, portable, 1.5 year warranty.

    Cons:
    No mic. No suitable for people who don’t have the patience to learn how to pair a BT adapter.

    Final Verdict:
    In my opinion, Robin serves as a very useful gateway between wired and BT devices. It offers very good value for money as well as delivers what it promises. Something that is very rare today. 1.5 year warranty seals the deal for me.
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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2017
  2. TheProfessor1987

    TheProfessor1987 Member

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    Good review. Nicely written. Satisfied to see a quality product from an Indian brand. Has anybody else used this bluetooth device? Plz share your insights.
     

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