Laws are continuously evolving to deal with technology and the potential hazards of using it while driving. As a consequence, it is now considered unsafe in many states – or it has been made illegal – to drive without some kind of hands-free solution when using a mobile phone. Many people are wearing headsets, but there is another option if you aren’t yet ready to embrace your inner Borg – a Bluetooth speaker system for your automobile.
Say hello to the Motorola T215 Bluetooth Car Kit Speakerphone; let’s take a look at the hardware, and then I’ll tell you how it performed.
Measuring 4.45″ long x 2.39″ wide x 0.61″ thick and weighing 3.1 ounces. the T215 is made to attach to the driver’s automobile sun visor. I was sent a loaner that didn’t include retail packaging; it came with the T215 unit and an AC power adapter.
The T215 is composed of matte black plastic with a speaker on the left side; there are three shiny silver plastic buttons on the front – Mute, a volume rocker, and the Call button.That Mute button should come in handy when you don’t want your diet buddy to hear you ordering a double-cheeseburger, large fry, jumbo shake and a diet coke at the drive through.
There are LED indicators between the buttons — the one on the left indicates battery (glowing green like this when fully charged), and the on the right is the obligatory blue LED Bluetooth indicator. During pairing setup, the lights will alternate flashing to let you know that the device is ready.
▪ Two watt speaker
▪ Noise reduction and echo reducing duplex technology
▪ Dedicated mute button
▪ Instant power switch
▪ Volume button
▪ Call button
▪ Red microphone light
▪ Battery level and Bluetooth indicators
▪ Wire clip
According to the Motorola site, the 35 hours of talk-time in one charge, and the T215 will standby (while turned on) for one month. Considering that I have only charged the device once since receiving it, that sounds about right.
The left side is plain …
On the right side, you’ll find the power switch and the microUSB charging port.
This is the clip that will attach the T215 to your sun visor, or even allow it to be used as it sits angled on a desktop.
Setup is simple! When the T215 is first turned on, it will sound several tones; pressing the volume down button will cause the BT lights to flash — indicating that the unit is ready for pairing. You’ll need to enter the standard 0000 passkey for pairing completion.
The blue LED on the right will glow, indicating that the phone and T215 are paired; all incoming and outgoing calls will now go through the speaker system.
After the initial setup, the T215 and your mobile phone will create an immediate connection when both are turned on — assuming you keep your phone’s Bluetooth on. The beauty of this system is that if you have a non-techy family member, they will have no problem using the kit after you’ve helped them with the initial setup; it’s pretty much fool-proof.
As I mentioned, I found the T215 handy for indoor speakerphone use as much as in the car; my mobile phone is my main phone number, and being able to talk hands free while working is my preferred method. Usually I just employ my Vertu’s built-in speakerphone, but during this testing I used the T215′s speaker system instead. While the T215 definitely has a louder speaker than my Vertu’s, people I spoke with could tell they were on speakerphone when I used it, versus how they usually can’t tell when I am on the Vertu. Granted, the Ascent T1 is not your average speakerphone, and I am the first to admit that it has spoiled me.
When I used the T215 with my iPhone 3GS, they could still tell they were on speakerphone, but the T215′s speaker is superior to the iPhone’s built-in speakerphone, so people thinking that I sounded tinny was expected and fine by me.
Dan was one of my guinea pigs while testing the Motorola T215; these are his thoughts:
My first two Bluetooth speakerphones were made by Motorola. Back then the technology wasn’t all that great. The voice quality was mediocre at best but, then again, that was pretty much the case with most Bluetooth devices. They worked and, in and of itself, that was impressive at the time.
It had been a while since I had tried one of Motorola’s Bluetooth devices and I had high hopes for this one when Judie asked me to try it out with her. Sadly, it wasn’t all that impressive. To be blunt, when Judie called me while using it, she sounded like she was in a tunnel. Sure I could understand her, but the sound quality was, in a word, unimpressive. She then called me from the same phone using her Vertu’s speakerphone. The sound was… well it was better. Much better.
I have a Bluetooth speakerphone in my car that I have previously raved about here on the site. It sounds great. Seriously great! On the receiving end of the Moto speakerphone Judie is reviewing there was no comparison.
In the car, the one button ease of use was a huge selling point, along with the fact that retail is actually quite reasonable. The Motorola T215 is not the highest quality Bluetooth in-car speaker system I have used, but it is one of the easiest to operate and fairly priced; the excellent battery life is a “plus” as well. This is definitely something I could see giving a non-techy parent or friend, both to keep them safe, and in some places — to keep them legal.
The Motorola T215 Bluetooth Car Kit Speakerphone is available from various online retailers.
MSRP: $69.99, but you can find them for much less if you hunt around
What I Like: Easy to operate; excellent battery life; can be used in car or in the house; dedicated mute button
What Needs Improvement: Sound quality is “okay” but you’ll sound like you’re in a tunnel, people will definitely be able to tell that you are one a speakerphone