At a Glance
- Easy to use
- Streams music and calls over your stereo
- Noticeable static during many calls
Motorola’s car speakerphone works great and is well designed, but it may have limited utility for many users.
(Revised 4/29/09) Even if you haven’t done it yourself, you’ve witnessed other drivers doing it: reaching across the front seat to answer a cell phone. It’s a bad habit, and one that you can easily rectify using a reliable in-car speakerphone such as the MotoRokr T505.
Slightly bulkier than a garage-door opener, the T505 features a giant clip that attaches to your car’s visor. It’s a speakerphone, not a Bluetooth headset, so it’s not intended for walking around or for individual listening. It pairs with any Bluetooth cell phone, allowing you to chat hands-free while cruising down the interstate. You’re not limited to using the T505 for phone calls, either: If you have a phone (or MP3 player) that supports stereo Bluetooth, you can also stream music to the device or to your car’s stereo via the built-in FM transmitter. Once you pair the T505 with your phone, the device dependably reconnects the next time you get into the car.
When someone rings you up, a cool-sounding British female voice announces caller ID information. To answer, you press the big call button on the front left; though you must reach overhead, you can easily do it by feel. To initiate a call, you can redial the last number by pressing and holding the call button, or if your phone supports it, you can dial with voice commands. In our tests we were slightly disappointed in the overall call quality, however. Call recipients regularly commented on the persistent static in the background; one party described it as a buzzing bee noise. Voices sounded far away, too. Despite those complaints, people could hear us fine (and we could hear them, too).
While streaming music through your stereo via the FM transmitter, you can control tracks by using the play/pause button on the front right of the T505, or skip between songs with the volume controls. The T505 did a better job of handling music than the Jabra SP700 did; tracks on the T505 still sounded flat, but less tinny.
Finding a station to tune in is a breeze: Press the FM button on the back, and the T505 suggests a frequency. You can also stream phone calls to your car’s stereo; when you receive a call, the music pauses so you can have a coherent conversation. Calls sounded great over an upgraded stereo, but your audio quality will likely depend on your sound system.
The unit comes with a car charger that plugs into your cigarette lighter. Motorola says the device can provide up to 18 hours of talk time when using the FM transmitter. When you need to juice the device, unclipping it from the visor is best–otherwise the cord ends up stretching awkwardly across your windshield. You can purchase a wall charger for $20.
At $140, the T505 may be more than you want to spend on a phone accessory, especially if your mobile phone lacks stereo Bluetooth. Relative to the other Bluetooth car speakerphones on our chart, you’re paying a premium for the T505’s music and car stereo features. And even though calls sound fine to us, it’s no good when parties at the other end have to tune out regular interference.