Skip to main content

Review: BlueAnt S1 Sun Visor Speakerphone

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.

Hardware

The S1 comes packaged like most other BlueAnt products, nicely presented in a clear plastic case. It's slim and looks how you think a visor-mounted speakerphone should.

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.

The specs

  • 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.

Call quality

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.

Multipoint

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.

Conclusion

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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Design: 5Call quality: 3Ease of use: 5

Overall: 4

Pros

Easy to learn.Multipoint is a great feature.Friendly price.

Cons

No FM transmitter

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

19 Comments
  • First....... I've got one, after searching for a long time and not wanting to spend a whole months salary. This little beauty came along.
  • I hope to get one of these soon.
  • I used the Motorola T505 for several months. It was an enjoyable experience. The FM transmitter was a plus at times but could drive you crazy looking for a static free frequency. The BlueAnt S1's multipoint sounds interesting as I often travel with other bluetooth users. But the deal breaker is no FM transmitter. Listening to Pandora through the car's speakers has made this $500 smartphone worth every penny.
  • This looks like the ideal solution to the new laws coming out that forbid holding the phone in your hand while driving. The sound should be great, since it is so close to your head.
  • Very nice, although an LCD readout would be usefull but maybe also distracting and defeating the purpose of handsfree. If using Windows (phone) Mobile at least it would announce the caller. Nice for cars that do not have BT already equipped besides it is mobile. Would like to try one out to see how it works.
  • I've been shopping/looking for a Bluetooth Speakerphone for my work truck, I've never owned one and I definitely need one that is capable of some reasonably high volume. Those of you who've owned one in the past, would the FM transmission be the only way to go in a loud working environment vs. "self contained" like this one?
  • I am using one of these myself (and was planning to pick up a second; winner one would be even better!) and have been happy with it. The multipoint feature is definitely useful if you are a multi phone household. I, too, would have preferred either a FM transmitter or the ability to disable A2DP completely. As it is, I have to redirect audio from my iPhone 3GS back to the dock connector every time, which is slightly annoying.
  • Very nice. Sounds like a simple solution to the new laws.
  • Looks pretty nice.
  • I like the looks of these speaker phones and believe I would like using one . I have never really liked any of the wireless headsets.
  • I've heard the Blue Ant systems are great. I like the Multipoint feature.
  • I agree the selling point on this is the multipoint feature.
  • Was mentioning these to my wife the other day as a better option to a bluetooth earpiece. The topic came up after talking about TXTing while driving - turns out a teen from our church recently killed a cyclist while txting and driving. :(
  • I've been using the Motorola T505 as well. Really like the FM transmitter. But I'd be happy to win one of these ;-)
  • If I win this I will give this to my girlfriend's sister who can't stop texting in the car while driving.
  • I've used the T505 before, and found it to be handy since I'd never have a traditional BT headset handy when I was in the car driving. The call quality is so so on it, with people having trouble hearing me fairly often, even with the windows up and radio off which makes the S1 sound pretty good. The lack of an FM transmitter is something of a non-issue considering it's nigh impossible to get a reliable FM frequency to use in the NYC area, though if it did work it would be great..
  • You mean I could finally remove this huge plastic tumor from the side of my head while driving...Sounds like I need to get a perscription soon
  • You mean I could finally remove this huge plastic tumor from the side of my head while driving...Sounds like I need to get a perscription soon. I wonder if it will work onthe Android phones...hmmm
  • one day i went shopping outside ?and in an links of london store?I found some kinds of links of london i love most?they are: Links of london mens bracelets Links of london mens bracelets Links of london mens bracelets Links of london mens bracelets Links of london mens bracelets Links of london mens bracelets Links of london mens bracelets Links of london mens bracelets Links of london mens bracelets Links of london mens bracelets shopping Links of London Bracelets shopping Links of London Bracelets shopping Links of London Bracelets shopping Links of London Bracelets shopping Links of London Bracelets shopping Links of London Bracelets shopping Links of London Bracelets shopping Links of London Bracelets shopping Links of London Bracelets shopping Links of London Bracelets