Bluetooth Car Kit Review and Round-up of 2016 and 2017
Staying connected to your phone has become more important than ever in our tech-driven world. If your car doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth functions a Bluetooth Hands-Free car kit is a simple solution. With harsher penalties for using a mobile phone whilst driving, a Bluetooth installation is now every phone using driver’s legal requirement.
Here you’ll find 3 Bluetooth Car Kit reviews for 2016 and 2017. I’ve tested the Jabra Freeway, Parrot Minikit and the Super Tooth HD. Each has pros and cons but you will get a fair assessment of these leading handsfree devices below.
The Jabra Freeway
Currently available at Tesco, Currys and Amazon (direct link to their product pages is below this article.) One huge benefit with the Jabra is three 7-watt speakers that produce HD voice and sound. As I quickly found out, having sufficient volume and quality of sound is a vital feature, particularly if your car carries a little road noise. Many Bluetooth car speakerphones carry just a single speaker and it’s not enough. The HD voice feature carries on both ends of a phone call meaning calls are clearer with improved communication.
The biggest drawback with this device is the lack of technical support should you encounter a problem. With most manufacturers, you’ll get a live chat option so you can get instant support. Jabra neglect to offer this so if instant support is important to you, don’t buy this model. Another feature of the Jabra Hands-free car kit is an echo cancellation/noise reduction Blackout system. Included are a digital signal processor and two separate microphones. This allows the device to easily separate your voice from the background and road noise within your car.
The set is relatively easy to use and helps you keep our eye on the road. The Advanced Audio Distribution (ADD) profile allows you to play audio from your mobile, including GPS. So, you can push your Sat Nav voice through this set. The Hands-Free profile allows voice command for simple functions such as answering and ending phone calls. You can also access your phone contacts via voice-command voice-dial. A Video/Audio profile also lets you take control of music playlists.
Part of your purchase includes a 12-month subscription to Jabra Assist. The application lets you create emails, texts and even tweets and Facebook status updates with your voice! I love the voice text message and email feature. Note – the app has a one-year subscription and then you will need to pay for the update. A bit of a downer but not something that would prevent me from buying this in-car Bluetooth device.
The Jabra Freeway battery life is ok but not outstanding. You get 14 hours of talk time on one full charge and almost six weeks on standby. Really, this is a minor hold up to an otherwise fully functioning in-car Bluetooth device for 2016/2017. Besides, it takes only three hours to fully charge via your car’s cigarette lighter port.
Overall, I really like this device. It’s easy to connect to your phone (30 seconds), simple to use and does everything you’d really expect from it. Of the three I’ve tested this Jabra Freeway is my favourite by far. I’ve found available at Amazon, Currys and Tesco at similar prices but Amazon was slightly cheaper. And, if you’re a Prime member it includes free delivery.
This week’s Offers with Amazon
Jabra Freeway Bluetooth Headset now £49.75
Parrot don’t tend to deviate their models from one core design. You’ll find one green and one red button with the signature rotary wheel in the centre of the device. The button sizes are a little small for my big fingers and I found them quite hard to locate without looking at the device (not great when driving!). But, I do like the simplicity of this hands-free set. The green button activates voice recognition and incoming calls. The red button stops the use of device features and ends a call.
If you are looking for an extremely simple to use Bluetooth Car Kit in 2016/2017 this device is a good choice.
The Parrot includes HD voice and the quality was of a good standard. It was relatively easy for me to hear the incoming call and the person on the other end of the phone also said they could hear me clearly whilst I was driving at 60MPH. Note, I was driving a modern VW Tiguan with minimal road noise. You might find a different result in an older car.
I read one review that was complaining because the volume wasn’t loud enough. I can see why as this Parrot Bluetooth system has only one microphone which is a major drawback when you compare it to some of the best Bluetooth car speakerphones of 2017 and 2017 (like the Jabra Freeway above.)
Not to be too negative about this device but the battery life is also on the low end compared to some other devices. 12 hours may seem just fine but if you use your mobile a lot you could quickly run out. Granted, you can keep the device charging via the port in your car but it’s not an ideal situation for someone like me.
Overall the Parrot MINIKIT is functional, simple to use and inexpensive. The device is on offer at Amazon for just £49.99, so it’s not an expensive unit and might be the ideal purchase for those looking for a quick, simple solution with minimal phone use whilst driving.
This week deal with Amazon
Parrot MINI KIT Handsfree on offer with Amazon at £49.99
The SuperTooth HD is made up with two of everything – two microphones, two buttons, two speakers and two DSP noise reduction processors. The common rotary wheel acts as the first button and controls the voice activation, answering and ending of calls and volume. Speech-to-text and text-to-speech are activated via the second button on this HandsFree assistant application. This feature includes a full social media incorporation.
The device includes two speakers at 5-watts each and HD voice capability. So, quality of sound is good and the volume can be heard easily. In-car noise from the road, radio, air-con or background chatter can hugely interfere with your ability to hear what’s being said on the phone. In my opinion, the SuperTooth have succeeded in providing enough good quality HD volume.
You probably wouldn’t avoid buying a Bluetooth device if it didn’t include a mute button, right? Perhaps I’m splitting hairs here but the SuperTooth requires you to turn the volume down to zero via their rotary wheel if you want to talk to a passenger in the car. Plus, the caller can still hear you. This is of no use if you don’t want your caller to hear an in-car conversation.
This device includes a Dial2Do application but be warned of only a six-month subscription. The app allows you to easily integrate with social media channels etc. but, in no time you’ll be forking out a monthly subscription to do so. This is a real sour point in my review of the device and enough to prevent me from buying it.
Of all the Bluetooth in-car devices I have reviewed the Jabra Freeway is my favourite model.
If you are interested in the SuperTooth HD Amazon are selling for £53.44 with free delivery.
SuperTooth HD available on Amazon for £53.44
Are you looking for an in-car DVD Player or other car accessories? Check out my links below:
I hope you enjoyed my 2016, 2017 in-car Bluetooth reviews.
The Used Car Guy.