Posts Tagged With: bluetooth

Jabra Freeway

For my previous post on Bluetooth speakerphones, please click here.

I received my Jabra Freeway right on schedule from Amazon and have had some time to check it out while driving. First, I was quite impressed by the sound quality. It is quite a step up from the BlueAnt S4. Volume is quite loud and not tinny. I love that you can keep the Freeway in standby mode and when it detects vehicle movement, such as the drivers side door opening, it automatically attempts to connect to my phone. While it was a minor inconvenience to turn on and shut off the S4, the Freeway makes this one less hands on device.

The buttons are well placed, but I did find the fact that they did not light up a bit of a disadvantage, especially at night. I’m sure with time I will become familiar with the location of all the buttons and this will become a non issue, but perhaps some selective lighting would be a welcome addition when requesting it from the device.

Music sounds great from the Freeway. It doesn’t sound the same as a great in car sound system, but it makes voices and music pleasing to listen to and has a little punch to them. The FM transmitter is a nice function, but I am concerned with privacy. Since it broadcasts whatever is going to the speakerphone to your radio using a small FM transmitter, it is possible that people within close proximity to you can listen in on one side of your phone conversations and anything else you are playing through to it. I found the default station of 88.1 unsuitable for my location, as I had a nearby station bleeding over and competing on my radio making listening difficult. You can choose any range of frequencies by pressing the Vol+ or Vol- buttons when in FM transmitter mode. I have not had a chance to find a suitable frequency yet. People who travel large distances often may also receive interference in one part of their commute, but not in others. It’s a nice to have feature, but I would not want to rely on it for both security and quality.

All in all, this is a nice upgrade for me. Is it worth over $100? Perhaps not, but I do not think you’ll be disappointed with the purchase. I bought mine from Amazon during a daily deal special at $75.

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Bluetooth Speakerphones for Vehicles

I constantly use my Bluetooth for my smartphone in my car. It’s just easier and safer. My first foray into a Bluetooth speakerphone was a small visor mounted device from Motorola. Honestly, the model name/number escapes me right now, but it was great for what it did. Except the battery life wasn’t all that great. I did not end up using that device all that often, as it was just for phone calls and did not support AD2P.

I finally decided to get another speakerphone when Leo Laporte recommended the BlueAnt Supertooth 3. The battery life was excellent and turning it on and off was just a matter of pressing the microphone in or out. But it was still just a basic speakerphone… I was looking for a little more hands-free. I purchased the BlueAnt S4. Totally hands free… you just speak and it will dial a number for you using the built in voice recognition in most smartphones nowadays.

However, I have grown disgruntled with my BlueAnt S4 over time… the voice does not always seem to pick me up when I say “BlueAnt, speak to me”. I tried resetting the entire device to no avail.

I also have become very frustrated with BlueAnt support. They specifically touted a feature of the S4 headset to be firmware update-able, but then with no mention of why, they just removed the firmware and associated updater from their web site.

I was patiently waiting for a 64 bit version of their updater to become available so that I can bring my S4 from 1.5 to 1.6. It would allow me to fix some of the problems I was experiencing. I signed up for the mailing to let me know when it became available. They promised it would be soon.

Now you can’t even download the 32 bit version updater or the firmware. If you e-mail support, they just say that all of their devices now shipping are version 1.6, so there is no reason for them to offer it. They failed to think of their existing customers.

Enter the Jabra Freeway. While this Bluetooth speakerphone for the vehicle is not 100% hands-free (you need to press the button and then it will ask what you want), some of the features this device touts seem to be a step up from BlueAnt. One of the main features of the Jabra Freeway is it’s large speakers. I has a virtual surround option, as well as an FM transmitter that lets you set a radio station on your vehicle, so any music, voice, or anything your phone makes a sound with will go through your speaker system in the vehicle.

I like this idea as now I can use my Pandora music app on my phone to play my stations directly to my vehicle speakers. I can also run my navigation app and listen to the navigation through that as well. I can break out of using just my radio or CD player in my car for my audible enjoyment when driving.

As for pressing the button for an action…well, it’s no different than my BlueAnt S4 now. The thing never picks up when I say the magic words, so I have to hit the button to have it recognize I am speaking to it.

I will post a follow up regarding my experience with the Jabra Freeway once I receive it and have some time to get to understand all the features better. Stay tuned.

For my follow up post, please click here.

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