The $60 (as of May 20, 2009) Jabra SP200 car speakerphone is the most affordable Bluetooth kit we’ve reviewed recently–it costs $40 less than its sibling, the Jabra SP700.
For its price, the SP200 is a great value. You get all of the basic calling features you’d expect (voice-dialing activation, call answer/reject, and redial, for instance). In addition, the bundle includes a USB charger (along with the standard in-car charger). A second charger is handy to have, though many speakerphones–such as the $140 Motorola MotoRokr T505–do not provide one. On the other hand, the SP200 does not offer some of the advanced features that you find with the SP700, such as voice announcements (for caller ID, for instance) and an FM transmitter.
The SP200 is extremely easy to use, thanks to conveniently oversize controls. Unlike the SP700, its oval-shaped cousin, the SP200 has an odd oblong shape: squarish at one end and round at the other. The enormous protruding volume control wheel accounts for the circular end.
Right out of the box, the SP200 is ready to attach to one of your car’s sun visors. The thin, prefixed clip on the back of the unit looks a bit flimsy, but the clamping mechanism proved to be strong. The speakerphone remained tightly affixed to my visor throughout testing.
The large main call control button near the top of the unit was easy to locate while I was driving, and it provided great tactile feedback when I pressed it. You can use this button to answer or reject calls, redial, initiate voice-dialing (provided that your cell phone supports this feature), and mute or unmute conversations. You adjust the volume by turning the huge volume wheel that is exposed at the top of the unit.
Another bonus of the SP200 is its dedicated on/off switch. To conserve battery life, you can turn the unit off when you aren’t using it. This particular switch on the side of the unit is small, however,and the knob barely juts out. Still, it didn’t take me long to get a feel for it when driving.
The SP200‘s call quality overall was about average (and occasionally above average) for a product of its genre. Most of my conversations came through clearly at the other end. My callers noted a subtle muffling, hollow, or wavy effect, but they could hear what I was saying without any problem. At times, they said, I sounded as if I had a cold; at other times, my voice had a slightly metallic or robotic edge–but again, all of my words came through. I did not encounter choppiness or voice breakups. The SP200 also did a pretty good job reducing background noise from the car radio and the roadways. Voices over the SP200 on my end sounded reasonably good, though a little splotchy.
If you’re looking for an affordable Bluetooth speakerphone with basic call-handling features–and you don’t need more-sophisticated options (such as address book synchronization)–give the SP200 a look. Like the other Bluetooth car speakerphone units we’ve tested, the SP200 can’t match the call quality you get when using your cell phone.
(To see other models we’ve looked at recently, check out our Top Bluetooth Car Kits chart. For more on selecting a headset that suits your needs, see our buying guide “How to Buy a Bluetooth Headset or Car Speakerphone.”)