Dave’s New Blueteeth (Jawbone, Solar)

Dave Zatz —  May 18, 2009

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What I hate most about Bluetooth devices is ending up with yet another gadget to charge. Frequently requiring a proprietary cable and, along with that, needing another free jack or port to juice it up. So it’s not that the first gen iPhone has a nearly worthless speakerphone (it does), but the promise of wireless charging that led me to LG’s solar-powered Bluetooth speakerphone (HFB-500, ~$80).

I’m not terribly fond of the button placement and lone status indicator (within the power button), but I’ve yet to plug it back into the AC adapter after a week of relatively heavy usage during my sucktastic daily 90 minute commute home. Ideally, I’ll never need to plug it in again – letting it (re)charge via solar cell while it’s suctioned to my windshield. And, to save juice, I’ve been powering the unit down when not in the car. Overall, I’m very pleased with the LG car kit’s performance, including sound quality and volume on both sides of a conversation.

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Next up is a Jawbone Prime ($130) review sample. Because I frequently make calls outside the car. While I’ve been sporting the great looking and sounding second generation Jawbone the last few months, I have two complaints: lack of multipoint pairing and wind noise. Which is why I was fired up about Aliph’s recent device refresh that addresses both. And the timing couldn’t be better, as I’m picking up another phone (for work) today. I haven’t used the Prime yet, but I’m expecting excellent results given their track record and recent coverage (PC Mag, SlashGear). Not to mention I’m a sucker for sexy.

But wait. There’s more. The Bluetooth updates will extend beyond just me… You’re getting some too. With a surplus of headsets, I’ll be giving away the very nice Jawbone 2 and Jabra BT8040 later this week. Maybe the Plantronics Voyager 510 (‘Old Faithful’), too. Stay tuned.

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8 responses to Dave’s New Blueteeth (Jawbone, Solar)

  1. Did the LG comes with any other way to mount it besides the suction cup method?

  2. Tom, it came with a clear hard plastic sleeve that the speakerphone slides into with one small suction cup on either end. There’s no other mounting method. And given the location of the talk button, you couldn’t Velcro it to the dash either.

  3. Dave,

    Odd that. In California its “illegal” to suction cup things to your windshield for some reason. The justification is that it impacts your visibility. Course all those parking stickers and reminders for your next oil change are fine…

    Anyway, my wife has a very nice BlueAnt speakerphone that attaches to the driver side visor (attaches to a clip with magnets no less). Would seem easy enough to remember to pull the visor down so the speakerphone would be exposed to the sun while out of the car. Odd they don’t offer a way to attach the LG to the visor.

    I’ve certainly been waiting for a device like this for a while.

    As far as the new Jawbone, yup worthwhile improvements. Of course other headsets have had multiple pairing for ages, and I still don’t like the lack of visible buttons, but as far as I’m concerned the audio quality of the Jawbone is unmatched.

  4. I had an older Blueant a few years ago with multipoint pairing and my Jabra mentioned above does it. I believe the CA law was amended and now allows items in the lower left and lower right corners of the windshield.

    I forgot to mention above how impressed I am with Jawbone’s packaging. Each generation has gotten better and is among the very best in my experience. It helps sell the exclusivity and style of the Jawbone.

  5. You are correct Dave about the CA law

  6. Lenny Ilkovich May 19, 2009 at 11:37 am

    how’s the battery life on the new jawbone? I returned the previous version cause I thought the battery life sucked.

  7. Lenny, long time no see! From what I’ve read, the Jawbone battery life isn’t substantially improved. (I haven’t even paired mine yet – hope to find a free moment today.) PC Mag says 3.5 hours of talk time. I assume it’s the extra overhead of the noise cancellation technology coupled with the small size. Sascha Segan (PC Mag) tweeted me that the Plantronics Voyager Pro has better battery life (over 6 hours) and is more comfortable. But man is it huge, and old school in appearance. I ain’t wearing it.

  8. I wish all these things were solar rechargable. I tend to keep my Jawbone in the car, and would just leave it on the dashboard if that would keep it charged. Or in a little cradle up there if need be. But no…