Certain products remain stagnant for one reason or another. For a while this was true of wireless microphone systems. We reviewed Maono’s WM821 rather recently, a product that is very similar to Rode’s Wireless GO, Movo’s WMX-1, or Anker M650. This also previously held true for Saramonic, but with their Blink Me system they’re offering a new spin to the concept. With a clean look, smart features, and personalization, is it a slam dunk, or is there a reason companies have stuck with these designs for so long?
Typically the products we cover fall in the strictly gaming category, or stick with a generic design that we’re come to expect from headphones, audio interface, or whatever. With Blink Me Saramonic is going after “creative” people, resulting in a surprisingly unique package.
It’s Such an Eye Catching Design
The front of the box mentioned the products name, with a number of black and white shapes in the background. In fact, it reminds me of Keith Haring‘s art style. This design continues on two of the sides, with the other two featuring an image of the product, and its name. On the back is a surprisingly informative series of images that make it extremely easy to know what you’re getting.
Extremely Easy to Understand
Inside I was surprised to see a black bag given the fantastic outward presentation. This disappointment didn’t last long as the bag contained what looks to be a Blink Me styled SR-C9 hard case. Everything is neatly arranged, including a bag to hold all your accessories. This is a fantastic addition that makes it incredibly easy to take Blink Me on the go.
At roughly 10.2″x7.5″x4″ the included case absolutely adds some bulk. In turn, it should also protect Blink Me from most hazards. On the outside there are features you’d expect, like a hole for zip tie closure, handle, and pressure valve. After opening the latches, the inside is customized to work with the Blink Me system. There is a square area for accessories, with the three main pieces presented neatly in the front. These also come with a screen protector preinstalled, a choice many will appreciate.
Inside the box is a small pouch containing every Blink Me accessory. One thing I like about the pouch is the middle divider. It makes it extremely easy to separate certain things to increase ease of access. With this system you get two magnetic clips, a magnetic cold shoe adapter, four magnets, two fur windshields, a USB-A to USB-C cable, 3.5mm TRRS to TRRS cable, and MVC phone holder. Unfortunately, an iPhone, or Android adapter were not included, though Saramonic sells both. I can also confirm any adapter, at least in my possession, worked as well.
While most accessories are not particularly notable, a lot of thought went into the magnetic system. Each piece has a magnet hidden in a plastic housing with a rubber topper. Not only does the rubber protect the back of the device, it helps prevent movement. The other big thing is the power of these magnets.
I was both excited, and worried about the magnetic system. Some things, such as the aforementioned Anker M650, utilize such a system with minimal problems. It also gives the product a cleaner look that I greatly appreciate. However, my biggest concern was accidentally damaging them. It wouldn’t take much more than a single 5′ fall to break one, yet after extensive testing I don’t think that would happen. It takes legitimate effort to remove one, with even more being required to slide it off the holder.
Similar things apply to the cold shoe adapter that pairs with the receiver. This piece is designed to fit perfectly over one of the two sides. The bottom of this piece is also not a clip. Instead, it’s a small square that can slide into a cold shoe adapter, or threaded opening that can be mounted to a tripod. In the event you use the cold shoe it has a screw that is used to hold the piece down.
As for the actual system, I was pleasantly surprised. The actual transmitters are surprisingly robust and simple to operate. Power turns it on or wakes it from sleep, with the yellow button activating various functions like noise cancellation, on device recording, and so forth. These functions can be changed with the official app.
On the actual screen all the key information you need is presented in an easy to understand way. Different themes, which can be edited with the app, also change how this information is presented. This makes it extremely easy to know if noise cancelation is on, recording, battery life, signal strength, and more.
Since these are touch screen devices, most features are accessed through common gestures. Sliding down reveals power option, mute, recording, and settings. Sliding up has various functions like Bit Depth, or gain.
While all of these things are nice, don’t expect a fast experience from Blink Me. A number of gestures/controls were finicky to use. There is also a slight delay with everything, besides powering it up, that can make the experience feel cumbersome. Still, the amount of features/control with each device is greatly appreciated.
In addition to controls, Saramonic went a step above by including a rather robust manual. Every setting is explained with clear pictures that you’d find on the actual device. That said, the manual also misses the mark at explaining some of the finer points of the device.
To access recordings you need to connect the transmitter to the receiver, and then connect it to a computer. Things like the fur windshield needs to be twisted to lock into place. Even small things like proper clip placement (you clip up, not down) is not mentioned. This also applies to the newly released application, which I’ll touch on later.
Performance was surprisingly good for this system. Having used a few of these systems, along with hearing other people use theirs, it’s surprisingly clear. I should note I tested this under ideal situations, like my office, or on the go in a building. This is also massive, since one of the biggest potential issues is not being able to a different microphone.
Default Performance with Noise Cancelation
Fur Windshield On
Fur Windshield On with Noise Cancelation
Typically these systems allow for a lavalier microphone. This is nice if you have to have the transmitter somewhere else, or prefer a different microphone. Since the included option is good, especially for the price, it minimizes this potential issue.
Another nice feature is the onboard memory. Each transmitter has 8GB, with 7.8GB of that being usable, to record audio. These files are WAV format, and very small in terms of usage. Between this, and six to nine hours of battery life depending on usage, you shouldn’t have any issues going to an event and using as needed.
Blink Me Inside my Nomatic Accessory Case
Speaking of, while the included hard case is a little on the larger side, the Blink Me system can be compacted down to a far more portable form factor. At 2.5″x2.5″x1.7″ with both transmitters attached, can easily be thrown in another case. I personally used my Nomatic Accessory Case, which fits securely with plenty of room above for wires/clips.
Finally, I wanted to touch on the optional application. The version shown below is from the official release via the Apple App Store. Set up is easy, though it’s also easy to be confused. Once you click +, you’ll see a page that says “searching Bluetooth.” You actually need to click that to search Bluetooth. The application actually tells you this, though I can see a lot of people assume it’s already searching for devices. After that linking should be a very easy couple step process.
Images of the Launch Application
Here you can edit button functions, like make onboard recording a single click instead of two, or turn the press/double press into gain toggles. It’s a nice addition that helps sell the smart side of things.
What makes the app interesting is the ability to make custom themes. This is an incredibly simple process. Find an image, upload it to the app, get the right placement, and then select an overlay. At the time of posting it’s a bit dodgy, especially with multiple themes, but after 10 to 20 minutes I got one onto the device. I imagine this will improve, and thankfully you won’t need to do that a bunch.
Saramonic Blink Me Review Verdict
I am delighted to say Blink Me offered surprisingly good performance. Not only is it a clean device, a lot of thought went into even the smallest aspects. Take the aforementioned four magnet accessories. This works as an easy way to clip Blink Me anywhere on your person, or doubles as a replacement set if you prefer the clip. Things like this really help the experience, with the great quality, and high usability making this an easy choice over several competitors. While there are some small quirks, such as slow device performance, the overall product is so good it has already replaced my previous set up.[Editor’s Note: Saramonic Blink Me was provided for review purposes.]