- Does two jobs for the price of one: Bluetooth Receiver and Transmitter
- Really, it's three jobs: Hands-free kit
- Extremely portable
- Can't be used while charging
- Battery life slightly shorter than a work day
Quick TakeThe ability to convert standard headphones into Bluetooth accessories, as well as connect non-wireless TVs or CD players to Bluetooth headsets, makes the iClever F56 very useful.
Apple dropped the audio jack from the iPhone, inconveniencing people who have a good pair of regular headphones. The iClever F56 Wireless Audio Adapter can fill in by turning any headphones or speakers into Bluetooth ones … and for less than $30.
And the same accessory can do the reverse: connect a non-wireless TV, CD player, etc. to a set of Bluetooth headphones or a speaker.
Beyond that, the F56 can function as part of a hands-free kit, and send audio to two sets of headphones at once. It’s full of surprises.
F56 Bluetooth Transmitter Receiver Build & Design
This gadget is about as portable as one could hope: 1.9 by 2.0 by 0.4 inches, and a half an ounce. The shape is triangle with curved edges, which makes it ride comfortably in a pocket. If iClever had added a loop, it could fit on a keychain.
On the front is a power button and company logo, as well as a tiny status LED. At the bottom tip is a microUSB port for recharging the F56. On the left side is the 3.5 mm headset jack that’s so important to the functioning of this gadget.
Along the top edge is a toggle to switch between broadcasting audio and receiving audio, as well as a button to turn on Bluetooth Pairing mode. Between these is a tiny microphone used when the F56 is being used as part of a wireless hands-free headset.
The right side features a pair of multifunction buttons. A short press of these advances to the next song or returns to the previous one, while long presses increase or decrease the audio volume.
To enable the F56 to convert a set of regular headphones to wireless, set the toggle to RX (for Receiver), press the Pairing Button to connect to the phone, tablet, or notebook, then plug in the headphones. Or speakers if that’s preferred.
The status LED on the front will blink blue when waiting to pair, and glow blue when connected to the audio source.
Limited control of playback is available via the Power Button. A short press will pause the current audio. Another short press will restart it. As previously mentioned, the multifunction buttons can be used to adjust volume, as well as jump forward or backward a song.
If iClever’s accessory is connected to a phone, doing a short press of the Power Button will answer an incoming call. A double press will redial the most recent number.
It’s possible to pair the the F56 with two Bluetooth devices and have them connected simultaneously. It can’t receive audio from both at the same time, though. It’s necessary for the user to stop streaming to it from one device to switch to the other.
This Bluetooth Transmitter Receiver does a lot, but it does not have a built-in speaker. The only way to get it to produce any audio is to connect some form of external speaker.
To get iClever’s product to connect a non-wireless audio source to a set of Bluetooth headphones or speakers, move the toggle to TX (for Transmit), press the Pairing Button to connect to the Bluetooth accessory, then plug the F56 into the audio source.
This last step requires a male-to-male 3.5 mm audio plug; iClever supplies two of these in different lengths. The more portable one is just 2 inches from tip to tip, and is all metal. The other is a cable that’s much, much longer: 48 inches (4 feet). Both worked fine in our tests.
Surprisingly, this accessory can pair with two different sets of Bluetooth headphones simultaneously, and send audio to them both. This means that, for example, two people on a plane can watch a movie on a tablet while listening to it on wireless headphones.
In our tests, simply putting the F56 into Pairing Mode near a set of Bluetooth headphones that’s also in Pairing Mode is all that’s necessary to get them to connect with each other.
F56 Bluetooth Transmitter Receiver Performance
A Bluetooth connection is guaranteed to work over a 30 foot straight line distance, and our tests showed that iClever’s product didn’t start dropping out until about 47 feet, when used with a 12-inch iPad Pro. Intervening walls reduce this distance considerably, though; when going around a corner, the F56 started dropping out for us at 29 feet.
In either Receiving or Transmitting modes, the F56 doesn’t add noticeable lag to the audio. This means there’s no delay between the video and sound of a broadcast.
One of the few drawbacks of the iClever F56 Bluetooth Transmitter is that it can’t be used while recharging. Plugging it in immediately shuts down all other functions. This is probably because it’s damaging for the internal battery to be both charging and discharging at the same time. So the battery life of this gadget is very important.
In our testing, the 180 mAh battery ran for 6 hrs 59 mins on a single charge. That’s the result from connecting the F56 to a smartphone over Bluetooth and continuously streaming audio. It’s unfortunate that this is less than a standard workday.
The time to recharge is equally important. iClever didn’t include a USB wall adapter, but there is a microUSB cable in the package. We tested this device with the adapter designed for an Amazon tablet, and the recharge time was 2 hours and 48 minutes. The F56’s status LED glows red when this accessory is plugged and charging, and stops glowing when it reached full charge.
Unfortunately, that’s one of the few ways the F56 has to to indicate its battery level. The other way is for the status LED to blink red, and several audible tones are added to the audio stream, when its battery is close to being drained.
There is an indirect way, too. iPhone and iPad display the battery level of connected Bluetooth devices as a small power bar next to the Bluetooth Icon. On Android, it’s necessary to download a third-party app like BatON for this feature.
F56 Bluetooth Transmitter Receiver Conclusion
The ability to turn any standard headphones or speaker into a Bluetooth accessory is probably the best aspect of the iClever F56 Wireless Audio Adapter, but it has plenty more to offer. Connecting any TV or CD player to Bluetooth headphones is great, and even people with Bluetooth-enabled computers might use this accessory to wireless stream audio to two receivers at once.
The F56 is very portable and easy to use, but its battery life could be longer.