bluetooth

Jabra Freeway – the car gadget that’ll unsissyfy you

This article was previously featured in my ECYAT section of TM’s EveryoneConnects.net. Want the very latest tech updates? Be sure to check it out :)

Some cars nowadays come with Bluetooth integration. I’ve got such a car which is great but not so when it’s so poorly integrated that you’d have to yell as thought you’re on top of a giraffe to get people at the bottom to hear you. It’s really sad.

Sissy business…
I talk too softly, they call me a sissy, I speak too loudly, they say I’m yelling so I finally gave up and went on a search for the ultimate Bluetooth kit for my car. Some have said why not get the regular bluetooth kit that makes you look like you’re wearing a gigantic pair of earrings? Truth is, I don’t want to wear earrings… In fact, I despise having one on my ear because I’d look like a sissy.

And so the search began…
It took all but 15 minutes. I dropped by a reputable gadget store, sniffed around, poked around and there it was… 500 over ringgit of glory that would get rid of this month’s paycheck…

Behold… The Jabra Freeway
Jabra has been around for sometime ever since the world of Bluetooth came around allowing us to talk without using wires. I remember them because they were also one of the first premium Bluetooth manufacturers in the world screaming about their noise cancellation technology.

After so many years, they are still around and this is their award winning Bluetooth handsfree made for cars – yay! No more dangling ear pieces that make you look sissy.

First impression
The box it came in was HUGE which scared me – but with the packaging removed, it’s actually a pretty slim device; which makes sense considering it’s meant to be clipped to your visor / sun shades.

It feels premium! Everything part of the gadget you caress feels good – from the cloth mesh that covers the 3 speakers (more on this later) to the physical buttons you press feels like the buttons you’d get in luxury cars – very nice.

Some highlights…

  • Speakers - Has not 1 but 3 high quality speakers & comes with surround sound
  • Reads names – Tells you who is calling by extracting phonebook information from your device & reads it to you
  • You talk, it listens – Battery status? Redial? Callback? Pair new device? Access phone’s voice command feature? Just hit the “voice” button & that sweet lady or sweet man (the voice changes sometimes) will await your next command :)
  • Answer calls without lifting a finger – Just say “answer” or “reject” during an incoming call – enough said
  • Wireless audio streaming – Using a device that has A2DP streaming? In layman terms, stereo Bluetooth streaming – or in even more regular human terms playing music on your device through the speakers on the Jabra without wires in high quality? This fella does it.
  • Transmit it to your radio – Instead of using the inbuilt speakers, you can opt to broadcast your call / music to your car’s radio via FM!
  • You can talk till you drool – 14 hours talk time & 40 days standby
  • And more… keep reading

I was set-up in 2 mins!
I’m like a baby whenever I get a new toy; eager to play with it and get everything started…

I turned it on for the first time (without charging) and immediately she spoke “ready for pairing…” and reads out this long message instructing you to look for the device on your phone. Once found, all I had to do was connect & she screamed with joy – “CONNECTED!”. At that point, I was screaming too, the fastest, hassle free Bluetooth pairing ever and I was ready to make calls!

“One of the best I’ve used”
I’ve used many Bluetooth devices before from the ear ring style to ones that make you scream – the Jabra Freeway was by far one of the best I’ve used.

3 speakers?
The 3 speakers (I was told 2 for regular audio and the center one for bass) produces super crisp audio for both music streaming & voice calls.

This thing sounds like a mini stereo box – it’s SUPER loud for its size & the output is really quite good. I’m no audiophile but I’d personally rate the audio quality as 7.5/10.

Call quality
This was the ultimate test, I called my wife & she screamed after hearing that I bought another gadget. For the first time, her screams were clear with no distortion & every word I said to justify my purchase was heard – finally, thanks to their noise cancellation technology – the Noise Black-out Extreme, a crystal clear call – not yell or talk too softly & sound like a mouse with asthma.

In more extreme tests, with the windows wound down, callers have had no problems hearing me! Yay, I can finally talk with my windows open and bake in the car!

It’s great for lazy people…
Like me. Yes, I hate turning off my devices. If possible, I’d leave them on forever. Why? I’m lazy. I believe this is the only car Bluetooth handsfree in the world that is smart enough to detect that you’re no longer in the car then disconnects your phone from it and switches itself to some form of a hibernation mode.

Once it detects movement in the car, the blue light glows, it wakes up and screams in ecstasy – “CONNECTED!”

This way, you never ever have to turn off the device and your battery life stays longer. I can vouch for this. Mine was turned on almost 2 weeks ago with lots of calls (I talk A LOT) and it still has 6 hours remaining talk time!

It’s also great for people with more than 1 phone…
The freeway also allows you to connect up to 8 bluetooth devices but only 2 can be active at any one time.

Say you’ve got an iPad that’s streaming audio to your freeway & you get an incoming call on your mobile – Freeway automatically brings down the volume of the iPad and connects you to the call automatically. Nice.

With so many greats, what are the not so greats?

Price tag
At about 500+ (varies from dealer to dealer – just nego a bit) is rather steep for a bluetooth handsfree but if you want the ultimate, I suppose you’ve got to pay the ultimate price.

Clip system
Since this gadget clips to your precious visor, after a prolonged period of time, you may see minor dimples which could disappear over time…

I’m not sure if it’s a deal breaker but I can live with 2 dimples – I’ll call them Pimply & Doodah :)

Voice command
The basic voice commands like redial, callback, battery status etc. are built-in but the more advance voice command features like dialing by number or dialing by name are not controlled by the device. Instead, it uses your phone’s built-in voice command. In such cases, Freeway simply transfers the command to your phone to do the job – if your phone has a sucky voice command feature – get ready to suck a lollipop.

Summary
In short, I think this is one of the best Bluetooth handsfree devices for the car. It’s packed with features, has great speakers, amazing call quality & noise cancellation – but ultimately, do you need it? Especially at that premium price tag?

Yes if you are have 500 bucks to spare, make lots of calls in the car and hate wearing those Bluetooth earrings. I’d take it as a mini investment.

No if you love wearing Bluetooth earrings in and out of the car

Maybe If you’re looking to give your car a voice

Perhaps if you’re filthy rich and looking for something to buy

Would you get it? Leave your comments below :)

BenJabra Freeway – the car gadget that’ll unsissyfy you

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