I’m a ‘gadget guy’ which drives my wife nuts I have to admit, but I’m always on the lookout for something clever that gets the job done well and if it has multiple uses then I’m even happier.
So, a while ago I was approached by a nice chap called Chris from an online company called MobileZap who sell accessories for smartphones and tablets who asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of their products.
I had been planning on getting another carkit at some stage as the cheap one I bought at the local supermarket wasn’t exactly reliable (and I had lost the manual for it – of course). Here in Australia the penalties for holding a phone while on the road have been greatly increased to help prevent the many accidents caused by distracted drivers answering their phones or texting(?!) while driving.
So, I found this clever wee device on their website which seemed to be able to do what I wanted which is to be a good hands free car kit plus it has the added bonus of being able to connect to the phone or tablet using Bluetooth and play music or podcasts.
I wasn’t expecting great sound quality from such a small speaker but I can honestly say that I’m amazed how good it is. Both bass response and quality of the high frequency range is very good – could be a little higher volume sometimes but it is far louder and clearer than either phone or tablet speakers.
I have tried it out in the car and used it for extended conversations and had no problems with the microphone sensitivity or hearing the caller.
One thing I love is that if I’m listening to something from the phone (I’m a big fan of the TWIT network podcasts which I’ll have to write about sometime) the audio actually pauses then resumes after I’ve ended the call. Now that is a clever feature I have to admit.
Usable range between phone and speaker I’ve tested to be around 10 metres which is what you would expect from a Bluetooth device like this. This isn’t an issue inside the car of course but I find it great when gardening (crikey I’m showing my age now) as I can pop it in my pocket and enjoy music outside while the phone sits on the window sill inside.
The controls are a little puzzling though – the manual says that the volume can be controlled by the – and + buttons, but on the speaker I’m reviewing these buttons let you skip to the next/previous music track and the centre button pauses/plays the audio. I actually prefer this arrangement and I’m guessing the manual has it wrong.
To answer a phone call in the car you only need to click the center button so you don’t need to take your eyes off the road as the speaker is stuck to the windscreen or dashboard – which is the best feature of this clever device. It has a suction cup on the base of the case (in fact it’s all one piece made of nice soft rubbery material) so you can stick it to any solid shiny surface, including the dashboard, the back of your phone or tablet – in fact anywhere you like. I’ve only had it fall off occasionally, usually when I have tried to stick it to a not exactly smooth surface and it bounces anyway! I actually did take it into the shower with me once and can confirm that the volume is loud enough to be heard over the noise of the water…
The speaker is charged via the supplied micro USB cable that can be plugged into your laptop or a mains USB charger and takes around 2 hours to fully charge and it runs for around 4-5 hours per charge in my experience.
So I reckon it’s a little beauty. Comes in various cool colours too – green, blue, orange and black. Would make a great present for the kids or grandkids to give you a little more peace of mind as we all worry about them driving and talking on the phone don’t we?
Get it from MobileZap for around $30 which is fantastic value I reckon. The link to their online store is below.
Buy it here : MobileZap Product page