My home base of California is now a handsfree state, which means it's illegal to drive your car and talk on the phone unless you are using a Bluetooth device or headset. I've tried my share of Bluetooth earpieces and understand their place and function, but I don't love having a device crammed in my ear. This weekend I took my sister's Supertooth Light Bluetooth Handsfree Speakerphone (on sale for $70) for a spin and it won my affection after two test phone calls.
You mount the device on your car's sun visor (I didn't have to take off my earrings! Brownie point number one!), and it features voice dial activation, redial and call reject and a retractable sliding microphone.
To see what I liked and disliked about the device, read more.
The packaging claims the Supertooth Light Bluetooth Speakerphone uses "real-time audio to process any echo or background noise resulting in the improvement of the sound quality of the user’s voice regardless of whether the car is stationery or traveling at high speed," but I'm unsure how to actually test that. The sound was clearer than the headset that came with my BlackBerry and because it's a speakerphone I didn't feel like I had to yell. If you are self conscious about talking on a speaker with other people in the car this might not be the right device for you, but if you don't mind sharing your conversation with the carpool the speaker is easy to use and does a great job of keeping your hands free.
I was initially a little confused about the pop out mic (you turn on the device by pushing out the retractable mic — there's no power button), but after using it once I figured it out. Supertooth claims the battery works for 15 hours, but my sister says it's lasted her about a week of car use. The stand-by time is actually 800 hours (who would leave a headset on for that long?). The good news is that you charge the device by plugging it into your car lighter so you can always juice up on the road.
The Blueant site has a whole rundown of device compatibility, but it works for all the biggies, like BlackBerry, iPhone and Bluetooth enabled devices from Cingular, Motorola, Nokia, LG and TMobile. Overall, I found the device easy to use, think it's a fair price (especially now that it's on sale from $100 to $70) and the sound quality is right in line with some of the better earpieces I've tried.