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Appeared on: Friday, September 29, 2006
A Better Way to do Bluetooth


1. Introduction

logo

A Better Way to do Bluetooth

Sometimes, a Bluetooth Headset is not practical. Sometimes, we don't want a blinking blue device hanging out our ear. Sometimes, we just want to be able to talk in our cars with no physical limitations whatsoever. For those times - the BlueAnt Supertooth II might be just what we need.

BlueAnt is an Australian based company with offices around the globe. They are exclusively dedicated to manufacturing and selling quality Bluetooth Audio accessories. While it seems that just about everybody is jumping onto the BlueTooth bandwagon these days, very few companies are exclusively dedicated to Bluetooth technology. The dedication shows.

This review will cover the Supertooth II Bluetooth Portable Handsfree unit. The Supertooth is mounted magnetically to the sun visor in the car - or it can be used as a stand alone speaker phone in your home.

sun-visorThe Supertooth II Portable Handsfree is designed primarily for the car – but it could be used anywhere. It is a relatively compact unit that attaches magnetically (very securely, I might add) to a clip on the sun-visor.  The full specifications from the BlueAnt website are as follows:
 

 

Supertooth II Product Specifications:

Supertooth II

Bluetooth Standard

Bluetooth V1.1, Class II

Frequency

2.4GHz

Maximum communication distance

Approx. 10m

Operating Talk Time

20 hours

Operating Standby Time

800 hours

Charging Time

About 3 hours

Bluetooth Profiles supported

Handsfree, Headset

Battery Type

Rechargeable Lithium Ion

Speaker

50mm, High Power Neodyne type

Microphone

With built-in noise canceller

Weight

133.3 g (without clip)

Dimension

(lwh): 138x60x25 mm

Other Comments

A Full-Duplex device


2. Design & Use

packageDesign

The Supertooth II is a wonderfully designed unit. The two magnets attach securely to one of the two included sun-visor clips. Noteworthy on this model is the large speaker and the flip down microphone.

The beauty of this design is that flipping down the microphone turns on the device and answers the calls.  If the Microphone is kept in the "down" position, calls will automatically be answered when they come in. Your hands never have to leave the wheel - which is the idea behind "hands free" design.

There is a very easy to use volume control knob - a design I much prefer to up and down arrows. LED's show the Bluetooth connection and charge of the battery.

One extra detail is that the Supertooth II ships with a car charger and a home AC charger. In theory, you never need to take the Supertooth II out of your car to charge.

operation

Ease of Use

The Supertooth II could not be easier to use. Pairing is accomplished by holding the call reject button and the Pick up button simultaneously. Lights flash, phone finds Supertooth, pass code entered and there you have it.

One of the nicest features of the BlueAnt experience is their wonderful user guides. Within the user guides are not only directions for pairing and using, but specific directions for virtually every mobile phone/smartphone on the market.

I so appreciated the subtle differences in directions for getting this to work flawlessly on my Treo.  No manual has ever been more complete and helpful. BlueAnt obviously realizes that Bluetooth is still an evolving science and that some companies do it a bit differently.

Once paired, using the Supertooth II was a joy.  The Mike can swivel into a usable position whether the visor is down or up (a nice touch). Calls came in perfectly. This is truly a “just set it up and use it” kind of device.

parts

Call Quality

This is the single most important issue in a Handsfree car kit. If people can't hear or understand you - no matter how good the design - the car kit becomes useless. Well, BlueAnt has no worries in this department.

I routinely asked callers how I sounded.  People said calls were clear and I sounded just like I was using the phone itself.  Even with the windows down and the radio on, people were still able to hear me clearly.

Sound on my end was amazing. Calls were clear - no tinny sound, no reverberation - just crystal clear sound.

 


3. Conclusion

logoThis is, hands down, the best HandsFree Carkit I have used. It was simple to use. The individual instructions for virtually every mobile phone were greatly appreciated. Calls were clear and the unit never failed. There was no re-pairing necessary (which happens often when I test these things).

I was also impressed with the build quality and the very complete package which includes not only the requisite manuals, but also car and home chargers, two sized sun visor clips and an earbud.

Pros:

Cons:

The BlueAnt Supertooth II is available at www.myblueant.com and various on line retailers for US$129.99.

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