When I'm driving and I need to rely on a Bluetooth speakerphone to handle calls, I like controls that are superlarge and a cinch to access by feel alone. You (and a gazillion other drivers) too, right?
The Jabra Cruiser2 ($100 as of March 1, 2011) delivers the goods: This portable speakerphone, which is a bit bigger than an iPhone, has a wide bar at the top, where the Answer/End button--the main call control--sits. At either end of the bar are the volume-up and volume-down controls.
The preattached clip lets you slide the Cruiser2 easily onto a sun visor. And even though the skinny clip appears fragile, it's not. The clip fixes the unit in place securely; the Cruiser2 stayed in place during all of my drives around town. Despite that firm grip, I could easily remove the unit each time by pulling it off with one hand.
Handling calls is a breeze. With my eyes on the road, I could reach up and tap my thumb anywhere in the middle of the bar to pick up and zap calls, or double-tap to redial. The three controls on the bar provide excellent tactile feedback when pressed. The on/off power switch at the side of the unit was too small for me to fuss with, though, so I tended to use that button only when I stopped my vehicle.
As long as your Bluetooth-compatible phone supports transfers, the Cruiser2 digests your contacts, so on incoming calls a voice announces the name of the caller (if recognized). I appreciated having a mute button on the Cruiser2, although it took me a number of calls to feel confident about the mute button's location; I needed to tap on a textured area below the main call button--and not cut off my callers in the process.
Overall, I was impressed with the Cruiser2's call quality. Testers reported that my voice sounded clear--though a little far away at times--with minimal interference and minimal background noise picked up. Voices coming into the car sounded reasonably natural. On long calls, listening to the call through my car's stereo speakers was more pleasing. Sending a call to the speakers involves tapping the Cruiser2's FM button and then adjusting the tuner to the frequency that the Cruiser2 announces--voilà, a phone call in stereo.
To parties on the other end of the line, in-car speakerphones tend to sound like speakerphones, creating a negative impression. However, with the Cruiser2, some of the people I conversed with were not able to tell that I was in yakking in the car on a speakerphone, as opposed to a headset.
Shoppers whose Bluetooth speakerphone budget is limited to $100 should look closely at the Jabra Cruiser2. The call quality is above average, most of the controls are readily accessible while you're driving, and the extra features (such as the car-stereo integration) add to the product's usefulness.
With the Jabra Cruiser2, you get above-average call quality. The controls are readily accessible while you're driving, too, and extra features add to the product’s usefulness.
- Large buttons make call management easier
- Great-sounding calls for a speakerphone
- Mute button takes practice to find by feel alone
- Somewhat bulky to carry around