Wednesday, April 23, 2008

mr Handsfree Blue Smart Review

With more and more legislation preventing the use of cell phones while driving, bluetooth and wireless devices are becoming more of a necessity then a nice-to-have. Many find wearing wireless headsets to be uncomfortable. In these instances, carkits can be a comfortable alternative. mr. Handsfree’s Blue Smart is a flexible and affordable choice.

Blue Smart cords

Despite how intimidating the number of cords may be, installation of the unit is fairly straight-forward. Basically, it consists of three parts - a speaker, a microphone and the control unit. The microphone and control unit plug into the speaker. The unit is powered by a cigarette lighter charger. Each piece has ample cord lengths in order to position them in the ideal locations. For the microphone, it is recommended that this location be away from wind sources (e.g. the vents) and ideally within 30 cm and faced towards the speaker’s mouth. Other than that, the only other location recommendation is that the microphone be at least 1 meter from the speaker. You’ll want to place the control unit in a spot that’s easy to reach while driving. All the components can be affixed using the supplied double-sided tape. You also have the option of adhering the speaker using the supplied screws. Clips are supplied to manage the cords.

Professional installation is an option. Professional installation allows the unit to be powered on when your car is turned on, use of your car speakers, and automatic radio muting when a call is received.

There are a variety of functions available via the control unit that are accessed by pressing on the large wheel and turning it. Some functions included are voice dialing, speed dialing, the ability to turn off the rear speakers. Thank goodness set up of these features only occurs once because it’s rather tedious - requiring you to turn the wheel to select each number or function. Once set up is complete, the features worked flawlessly.

Blue Smart control unit

I found the speaker to be adequately loud and clear - surprising given its compact size. Volume is controlled by turning the wheel on the control unit. Although I had no issues hearing the speaker, I cannot say the same for those who I called. Most had issues hearing me and cited too much background noise, sounding like wind. I attribute this to 1) my car has pretty much no soundproofing - it’s just generally noisy and 2) in both tests, I was driving on the highway. I imagine if you had a quieter car and/or mostly used the device for city driving, there wouldn’t be as many issues with callers hearing you.

All-in-all, mr Handsfree Blue Smart fits the need for a hands-free iPhone carkit device and the price is right at $69.95 EUR. It can be purchased from TE Group at

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