For those who have never gotten used to the Bluetooth headsets and still need a hands-free solution for their Windows Phone, enter the Bluetooth Speakerphone. Jabra makes a nice assortment of speakerphones and today we turn our sights on to the Jabra Drive.
The Jabra Drive is a basic Bluetooth speakerphone that is solidly built, has just enough features to make it appealing and decent call quality. Moderately priced at $49.95, the Drive might be a good choice for those looking for a hands-free solution that doesn't have too many bells and whistles. To see how well the Drive performed, follow the break.
Design and features
The Drive is a uni-body designed speaker that uses a wide metal clip to fit securely to your car visor. Volume controls rest above the speaker with the noise cancelling microphone sitting in between the "-" and "+" buttons.
The large speaker doubles as a multi-function button and has a LED light to alert and confirm operations. To the right side of the Drive you will find the power button and micro-USB port. The overall size of the drive, when placed on the car's visor, is about the size of a deck of playing cards.
The Jabra Drive does support multiple connections, allowing you to stay connected to two active Bluetooth devices at the same time.
While the volume controls are independent, the remaining functions are controlled by the speaker/multifunction button. The speaker is slightly raised and hinged to create a button that is used to answer calls, reject calls, end calls, voice dialing, last number redial, and mute. Some of these features are device dependent.
The Jabra Drive does support music playback and voice navigation for some phones. The music or voice navigation should be automatic and mutes automatically on incoming calls. The Jabra Drive supported music playback nicely with the HTC HD7S and Samsung Focus. However, I wasn't able to get voice navigation to come through on the Drive using Garmin Streetpilot or Turn by Turn Navigation. I'm not sure if this is an issue with the phones or the navigation software.
Call quality was really nice and the noise filtration features are amongst the best I've seen. In using the Drive at interstate speeds and with the radio in the background, the only sound picked up by the microphone was my voice. While the speaker is a touch smaller than other Bluetooth speakerphones, call volume was respectable.
Now for the bad or should I say, not so good. While the Drive has voice announcement to alert you that the battery is low or when your Windows Phone is connected, that is the only voice alerts the Drive has. The ringer is nice and loud but without voice caller ID you have to either a) take a chance on answering the phone or b) check caller ID from your phone. I've been using the Jabra Cruiser II for the past several months and having audible caller ID is hard to give up.
The more I used the Jabra Drive, the more I liked it. Call quality was very good and the speakerphone didn't take up much room on the visor. However, I like to see who's calling before I answer the phone and the lack of caller ID on the Drive was a drawback for me. I was able to work around this limitation by placing my phone in an iGrip Phone Mount but it would have been nice to have audio caller ID. With the Drive having the ability to have audio alerts for connectivity and low battery, it may only be a software issue to add caller ID (hint, hint).
All in all, if you're looking for a basic BT speakerphone and can live without audible caller ID, the Jabra Drive is a decent choice. If you can't live without audible caller ID, look at the Jabra Cruiser instead.
You can find the Jabra Drive over at the WPCentral Accessory Store for $49.95.
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