At a Glance
- Solar power can deliver unlimited talk time
- Offers two in-car installation options
- Bulky design
- Call quality is mediocre
This solar-powered unit can deliver endless hours of talk time, but voice quality takes a hit.
With a solar-powered Bluetooth speakerphone such as the Iqua Vizor Sun, under optimal conditions you can expect to talk for hours and hours, without ever having to recharge using a cable. But “optimal conditions” means that, on a daily basis, you park your car in direct sunlight, not tucked away in an underground lot.
In my tests, apart from the $100 (as of 3/27/09) Vizor Sun’s first charge out of the box, I never had to use the charging cable (or bundled in-car charger) again. The same goes for the LG Electronics HFB-500.
The company lets you choose between two installation options: You either use the sticky-backed plate to attach the speakerphone to the dashboard or attach the metal clip to the magnets on the underside of the device before sliding it onto a sun visor. I chose the latter, as my car’s visor is within easy reach for me (I have short arms). If the Vizor Sun were on the dash, I would have to lean too far to work the controls–I’d rather concentrate on driving.
The front end of the unit consists of a clever and unique flap-like strip, which accommodates all the controls; you’ll find dedicated buttons for volume-up and -down, starting a call, ending a call, and voice dialing. All five buttons are in a row, so getting a feel for them without taking my eyes off the road took me a little while. The control strip swivels, so I adjusted it to suit the curve of my visor. On the other side of the strip, facing the windshield, is the flat part of the unit, which houses the solar panel.
Call quality was just about average. According to the parties at the other end, my voice often sounded far away and muffled, with varying levels of interference in the background. My words broke up sometimes, and my chitchat came across as shaky or quivering. When the calls sounded like that, the quality was unusable for lengthy business conversations. Occasionally calls sounded clean with no distortion, and one caller thought that my voice sounded more natural–that is, less robotic–compared with how it came across on other speakerphones. On my end, callers’ voices came through clearly.
The voice-dialing feature worked well; I didn’t need to yell out names. I liked how the Vizor Sun had its own indicator for incoming calls–a melodic beep–so if my phone happened to be on vibrate, I would still be alerted to an incoming call. (Otherwise, my phone’s ring and the beep would chime together.)
With the Fast Call Function, the Vizor Sun lets you save one number, a bit like speed-dial. While it is convenient, the feature is a little tricky to handle in the car. You can save the number (by holding down the call button) only when you receive an incoming call from that contact. As a result, you have to glance at your handset to see if the person calling happens to be “the one,” or you have to arrange for the person to call you at a convenient time. (I waited until I was not driving to test this.) Afterward, however, to make a call to your fave contact, you simply hold down the call button for a couple of seconds.
If you are interested in a solar-powered Bluetooth car kit that provides a range of controls and comes with a couple of installation options, the Iqua Vizor Sun meets those needs. Too bad its call quality isn’t more dependable.