It’s been almost exactly two years since I picked up the solar-powered LG Bluetooth hand-free gadget. For the first few months, I used it extensively in the car – very rarely needing to plug it in for supplemental juice. But the speakerphone eventually ended up collecting dust on the desk for quite some time, as I reverted back to my most favored Jawbone Prime, which has the right mix of style, comfort, and performance. As my car talk time began to increase several months ago, I pulled the LG out of cold storage. In 2011, its audio performance on either end is probably never stellar. More annoying is the tiny power button that needs to be held down a second or two and no standby mode. And, thus, my search for a replacement began.
Unfortunately, solar power speakerphones really haven’t taken off the way one would have hoped — there just aren’t too many options. So I settled on the more traditionally charged Bluetooth units, with two in particular standing out: The BlueAnt S4 and Jabra Cruiser2. They both run about $70 these days, and I was leaning towards the BlueAnt given its potentially useful voice control and styling. Yet, I came across the Jabra on a Costco run this week… and an impulse purchase ended the debate.
While it’s still early, voice quality and volume on either end of a conversation has been quite good. I also appreciate how the Cruiser2 sleeps when my iPhone 4 is out of range. When back in the car, a simple tap of the talk button wakes and repairs the two. It doesn’t feature voice control, but does have a (female) voice of its own. Unfortunately, it’s loud and robotic in a poor GPS way. But she’ll earn her keep when she notifies me of a low battery. Lastly, Jabra incorporates A2DP and an FM transmitter – so, in theory, I should be able to relay stereo audio (like Slacker or Pandora) from my iPhone, through the Cruiser2, and out the cars speakers. I don’t have high expectations, but it could come handy. Especially if I don’t renew SiriusXM satellite radio next month.