A no-nonsense hands free car kit.
One of the very first things that I got for my car was a Bluetooth car kit. Having grown tired of fiddly wired headsets and in-ear headsets that made me look like a complete idiot, I opted for pure hands-free bliss. While I did have to fork out a small fortune to have the kit installed professionally in my car, it was a great investment that made my life a whole lot easier (and safer) when receiving calls during my trips. So it was with much zeal that I nabbed the Jabra Freeway Speakerphone Bluetooth car kit for review this week, to see how it compared to my current car kit.
The Jabra Freeway is a sleek little device, and is a breeze to install. Simply clip it to the sun visor of the driver’s side, and turn it on. The device can easily be moved from one car to another, and doesn’t need any extra wiring, with the exception of a micro-USB charging cable to recharge the unit from your car’s cigarette lighter outlet. The device has no display and is almost completely voice controlled. There are buttons to adjust the speaker volume, activate voice commands, answer or reject a call, or activate the FM transmitter (which I’ll get to later). Once the device is powered on, you simply turn on your phone’s Bluetooth and then say to the Jabra Freeway “Pair new device” to begin the pairing process. When the pairing is complete, the magic begins.
The Jabra Freeway will automatically announce a caller’s name if they exist in your phonebook, or will simply read out the phone number for unknown callers. You can then accept or reject the call by saying “Accept” or “Ignore”, or by using the designated button on the device. The speaker quality is absolutely superb, and I had no problems hearing my callers who also reported my voice coming through loud and clear – even passengers in the back seat of my car could talk normally and still be heard by the caller. The device also detects when you enter and exit your car, automatically turning on and off as required, and connecting to the last paired device.
The Jabra Freeway also supports Bluetooth streaming, which means you can activate your phone’s music player and have the audio streamed directly to the Freeway’s speaker. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, the Freeway also has an FM transmitter mode which lets you use your car’s audio system for listening to phone calls or any phone audio. The FM transmission was a bit sketchy initially until I found a static-free frequency, so I suggest a bit of tweaking until you find a frequency that works properly. It was great to have music streaming from my phone directly to my car’s audio system, and though you can control playback and song navigation through voice commands, it’s probably faster to just tap to the next track directly on the phone itself. Another very cool feature of the Jabra Freeway is the ability to pair two devices at the same time, so I was able to pair my phone and iPad with the Jabra Freeway, and then stream music from my iPad. When a call came in, the music was paused and the caller was announced – very fancy if you ask me.