BlueAnt S1 Bluetooth Car Kit - Review
Great Conversation Piece
This product is helpful for cell phone owners behind the wheel who don’t like to use earpieces, especially in states where handheld units are banned. They can even be used by passengers at the same time, whether making a call or listening to tunes.
Unlike many Bluetooth products, the S1 pairs up quite easily. Even more impressive a feat, it can be used simultaneously by two cell phones. This small unit clips onto a sun visor, so it can serve as a speakerphone for two people. We found the sound crisp and clear for such a compact device. For added safety, the device can be used to dial or answer either of the phones by voice command, so the driver can keep both hands on the wheel, and the passenger doesn’t have to reach into the driver’s line of sight to answer a call.
Voice command dialing will only work on phones that have such capabilities. The gadget’s small printed introduction was so helpful, we never had to refer to the S1’s user manual, but we did have to keep checking our phone’s manual to see how to do what we wanted. When we did get the S1 to play music through its single speaker, we were impressed by the sound quality and range. If the phone rings while you’re boogying behind the wheel, the music will automatically stop.
While the S1's completely hands-free capability is a definite plus, we at times found road noise to be somewhat intrusive when making calls. Our other major complaint is that, besides the volume control, there are only two buttons on the device which control every function. One of them is appropriately called the Multi-Function Button, as it is used for turning it on and off, pairing, answering calls, voice dial, redial, and audio transfers. As a result, it’s easy to mix up commands. More than one attempt to shut the machine off by holding the MFB down resulted in our mistakenly redialing the previous person we called. But playing the S1 is like playing the piano: practice makes perfect.
The BlueAnt S4 improves on the S1 with completely hands-free functionality that is fully compliant with new highway safety regulations. Users can now tell the device who to dial and whether to answer or ignore incoming phone calls. No multi-function buttons plague this simple design. Smartphone users can make use of additional S4 functions, such as web access and audio streaming. By downloading a free app, the hands-free device can also read out incoming text messages.
Reviewed by Jeff Hoyt
Price: $60 for the S1, $100 for the S4