Admit it, you do it. You talk on your phone in your car. No headset, no speakerphone. One hand on the wheel, the other on your smartphone. For shame.
Here's a quick look at the BlueAnt S1 Sun Visor Bluetooth Car Kit with Multipoint — that's a lot of words that mean "speakerphone," and one that packs the usual BlueAnt power and one very cool feature you don't find most places. Read on.
The black matte finish is a little bit of a change from from the glossy finish of other BlueAnt speakerphones, but it's not unattractive.
The on/off button, end call button and volume buttons are easily reached and clearly labeled (that's not always the case in other speakerphones). The blinking LED on the underside is noticeable but not obtrusive. There's a little hole and indicator to show you where there microphone, if you're worried about that sort of thing.
- Bluetooth 2.0.
- 2.4GHz frequency.
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
- Up to 15 hours' talk time/800 hours' standby.
- Charges in 3 hours.
- Weight: 100 grams.
- Dimensions: 64x120x21mm.
- A2DP compatable - stream music from your phone.
- DSP noise and echo cancellation.
- Multipoint capability (more on that below).
- Voice dial/answer.
- 10-meter range.
What's in the box
- The S1 SunVisor speakerphone.
- Sun visor clip.
- Micro-USB wall charger (though any micro-USB source should work).
- Quick-start guide.
- Warranty card.
Using the BlueAnt S1
If you're no stranger to Bluetooth devices, you'll be up and running as soon as the S1 is charged. The sun visor clip snaps on easily intuitively. Turn on the S1 for the first time and it automatically goes into pairing mode.
Speaking of powering on the S1, we appreciate only having to press the power button briefly to do so. Having to hold down the power button on other speakerphones takes your hand off the wheel for longer, and that's a bad thing.
Placing calls is simple. You can do so from your phone — but again, that hands-off-the-wheel thing. Instead, press the green call button and the S1 activates your phone's Voice Command function. From there you tell it whom to call, or which app to open.
The S1 isn't the highest-end speakerphone (nor is it the most expensive), but call quality was reasonably good. Excessive road noise will make things a little muddy. We could still be heard even with the windows down and the stereo blaring (Big Wreck, if you must know), but we weren't always understandable.
Just as important is the quality of the speakerphone's speaker, and the S1's was surprisingly strong. Volume was excellent and had an unexpected amount of bass. Music sounded fuller and richer than on other our daily driver (the Motorola T505). Spoken word lacked a little bit of fidelity, but your mileage may vary. Overall, the speaker was excellent.
The S1's standout feature is called Multipoint, which allows you to have two phones paired at any given time. The phone that connects last is designated the primary phone, and the phone that connects first is the secondary. These can be switched by holding the red "end call" button for about 5 seconds, and will switch during use depending on which made or received the most recent call, went out of range of the speakerphone, etc.
The primary-secondary thing is something to be aware of, but not really something you have to actively think about except when placing calls directly from the speakerphone via voice dial. Regardless, it's a very cool feature and one we'd like to see in all speakerphones.
For all intents and purposes, the S1 is an above-average speakerphone, with one standout feature in Multipoint. Call quality was average and the speaker was above-average for voice calls as well as music playback. About the only thing we'd like to see added is an FM transmitter to pipe the audio into the car stereo, but that would certainly raise the already reasonable price.
The BlueAnt S1 Sun Visor Bluetooth Handsfree with Multipoint is available in the WMExperts store for $59.95.