Provides: Text, e-mail and talk while driving
Minimum Requirements: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and other smartphone and mobile phones
When shopping for cars a couple years ago, one of the main reasons I picked the car I did was its built-in Bluetooth functionality. I’m not one to hold a phone while driving, but I’m generally okay with making or accepting a call when heading down the highway. It’s the kind of thing that makes my wife want a new car simply so she can enjoy the same ease-of-use and (relative) safety.
The new car will have to wait, but the Bluetooth hands free calling doesn’t have to thanks to the SuperTooth HD. This device pairs with your Bluetooth equipped mobile phone (in our case, an iPhone 3GS) to not only allow for hands free calling and speaking, but also e-mail and text functionality, and even Facebook and Twitter connections.
Before we get to all of that, though, let’s look at the hardware. The SuperTooth HD is about 5″ deep and just shy of 2-1/2″ wide. It connects to your window visor via a removable clip that’s held in place with two fairly powerful magnets. You won’t need to worry about it falling off, but you can easily remove it to take the device with you if necessary (or attach it to something else).
The bottom face contains the only three buttons required: Hands Free Assistant (an envelope icon), power and a volume control / multi-function button. As this is the button you’ll use to initiate a call, it’s the largest on the device, making it easy to find and hit while driving. And because the device features two speakers and two microphones (one in front, and one in back), you get surprisingly clear audio in both directions.
Pairing the SuperTooth HD with the iPhone was a simple matter of pressing the power button for the first time and selecting my preferred language (U.S. English is second, behind British, and I’m sure they’re none too pleased about having to call their language “British English”). After that, the SuperTooth will seek out pairable devices. It quickly found my wife’s phone, on which I’d navigated to the Bluetooth menu. The connection was made within seconds, and we were set. You can pair two phones, but we didn’t bother.
After the devices are paired, the SuperTooth HD will import the phone’s contacts. Unfortunately, this is for incoming calls only. If someone in your contacts calls you, a severely robotic sounding voice will announce the caller. However, you can’t just call any contact in your phone book, which is rather disappointing. Instead, you have to pre-program five contacts using special text, then initiate the call with the commands, “call contact 1,” “call contact 2,” etc. So, you’re not only limited, but you also have to remember which contact is which. You do, however, get specific commands for “call home,” “call office,” “call voicemail” and “call emergency,” all of which are programmable. If your phone supports voice dial, you can use that as well.
The Hands-Free Assistant features are even trickier to access. First of all, you have to register your device to sign up. Then, although you can compose and send SMS, e-mails, Facebook message and Twitter tweets, you’ll need a special app to “read” (hear) incoming SMS and e-mails, and that app is available for Androids and Blackberry only. And finally, it’s all powered by Dial2Do. You’ll get the first six months of this service for free, but after that, you’ll need to subscribe to keep the functionality. Various packages are available but count on spending $30 to $60/year.
Thankfully, none of this is needed. If you’re so into Facebook and Twitter that you feel the need to post from your car, your next stop should be some kind of addiction clinic. I better understand e-mail and SMS composition, but without the ability to receive a reply to either on the iPhone, it pretty much kills the functionality.
The SuperTooth HD redeems itself solely through its hands-free calling, provided you only have five people you call regularly from the road. The microphone and speaker are both fantastic, offering clarity despite wind and road interference. It’s easy to set up, access and use. SuperTooth claims 20 hours of talk time and 40 days of standby, and that seemed fairly accurate to us. A USB cable and car charger are included to get you back up to full power. And each time you turn on the SuperTooth HD, severe robot lady will let you know how much battery is left.
Still, the price is a bit steep if you’re not taking advantage of the Android and Blackberry functionality, so it’s actually easier to recommend the SuperTooth HD to them. If you have an iPhone, you’re paying the premium for a solid piece of equipment that serves its function quite well, but I guess you should be used to that, anyway.
Buy the SuperTooth HD