I’ve never been a fan of add on bluetooth speaker phones.
I prefer headsets for my hands-free.
However, this newest generation of speaker phones is starting to include some really compelling features–and it’s time I gave one a fair shot.
Enter the Motorola Roadster!
A little larger than a deck of cards, the Roadster is a bluetooth speakerphone boasting a 20 hour talktime/ 3 week standby, which clips to the visor in your car.
I only used the review unit for a week, but I didn’t have to recharge it the entire time it was in my car.
Recharging is easy thanks to Moto’s decision to go with a standard sized MicroUSB port; this means I can use the same car charger I use for my phone.
Making and receiving calls is simple enough, and basic functions are pretty much the same as any other in-car or headset solution.
But who wants to use basic features?
The Roadster really comes alive when paired with an Android phone (I’m sure Moto would prefer that phone be a Droid, but any 2.1 or higher phone will work) running the MotoSpeak app. This allows for a whole host of expanded features.
My personal favorite is the unit’s ability to read my incoming text messages, then allowing me to reply with voice-to-text capabilities built right into the unit. You never have to touch your phone, or take your eyes off the road, and it really helps you feel connected.
The Roadster can stream music, but while the built in speaker sounds pretty good for a phone (if a bit tinny), it’s not a great solution for media. Sound is a little harsh on most modern bands, and as the speaker gets louder, it gets pretty distorted.
People receiving calls from me never complained about being able to hear me, or hearing traffic noise–you can thank the Roadster’s dual mic setup for the noise cancellation…
FM radio streaming is also included to stream audio and your phone calls from the Roadster to your car stereo, but this can a frustrating feature to use in a city like LA, where driving a couple blocks can really change up which frequencies are clear.
It’s really cool seeing a device like this built for Android; usually something like this would be designed for the iPhone, and Android compatibility would be an afterthought. The app Moto has made is one of the best “driving managment” apps I’ve seen yet, and will be compatible with ALL Motorola phones running 2.1 or higher. If you’re not on a Moto phone, the Roadster will only fully support phones 2.2 or higher. If your phone doesn’t have 2.2 (Samsung COUGH COUGH), then speaker phone features will work, but you will miss out on speech to text.
In all, the Roadster has really changed my mind about speaker phones. The app features really move this to a new level of functionality, and devices like this can really make using your phone in your car much easier… and safer…