Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

January 25, 2009 • Reviews

iVoice R1 Carkit – Review

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I recently had the opportunity to review the iVoice’s Baby-ai bluetooth headset. I had not heard of the company previously but was certainly glad to have had the opportunity to see their products in action! I was quite impressed with the diminutive headset. I was taken by its small size and high quality audio. Incorporating the latest technology, it was one Bluetooth headset that actually lived up to its hype. At the same time, I had the opportunity to review their R1 car kit, as well. I was similarly impressed, which isn’t a surprise since it incorporates much of the same technology.

Let’s take a look–

What’s In The Box —

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The hands-free kit
A visor mount
A USB charging cable
An AC adapter with USB interface
A car charging adapter
A carrying pouch
The user manual

The Hype —

The R1 carkit is a unique and innovative full-duplex product. R1 is robust and flexible for use in the car with the sun visor clip. Aesthetically, the carkit is a sleek and compact device, with a metallic glossy silver finish. Keys to sit next to the speakers.

It offers-

Background noise filtration — proprietary noise filtration technology cancels background noise to better isolate speech for enhanced voice clarity. Technology uses advanced digital signal processing so every word can be heard clearly on both ends of the call

The ability to turn off the LED lights while driving at night

Intelligent voice operator– Announces the caller ID is a call comes in.

Voice guided prompts– Makes the process of paring the headset with your phone simple.

Multi-charging stations— juice up your headset at home office or in your car which included accessories for standard outlet, USB or car plug-in out with

800 hours of standby time

Pair up to eight Bluetooth devices

Dual mode— switch between isolation mode and mobile conference mode

The Reality —

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The R1 immediately suffered a bit (unfairly) in the aesthetics department since I have been using a similar (but gorgeous) device from Jabra SP700.

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Quite frankly, while this car kit is far from a ugly it doesn’t compare to the sleek design of the Jabra unit. The fact is, however, it isn’t aesthetics that really matter in a Bluetooth carkit — it’s the sound and ease of use. In these department the device is a home run.

Sharing the same technology as the diminutive Baby-ai headset, it includes dual microphones, background noise filtering, and noise cancellation. It can be clipped to the sun visor for hands-free use in the car or used at home or in the office while sitting on a desk. It offers two different modes depending upon how you’re using the device. In the car you select “isolation mode” so that it only picks up sound from you, the driver, while in “conference mode” its two microphones pick up sound from a full 360°. This dual mode is a nice added benefit I suspect most binding the unit are doing so for in car use only.

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The process of pairing the device with my iPhone took all of three seconds. Like the headset, voice prompts walked me through the process.

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The buttons on the device are large and easy to use — a great thing since a Bluetooth speakerphone is about safety and the larger and easier the buttons the better.

The speakerphone announces incoming calls loudly and clearly — another great safety feature.

Best of all, the sound quality of the headset is as good as any I have heard. No, it doesn’t blow the Jabra speakerphone out of the water in the sound department, but it is definitely on par or a bit better, making it an excellent choice if you’re looking for a high quality, great sounding speakerphone.

The R1 has a retail price of $74 but appears on the Amazon.com website for $59.

What I Like — great sound quality, easy to use, dual mode allows you to book in the car and at home, allows pairing with up to eight different Bluetooth devices

What Needs Improvement — not the sleekest looking unit I have seen

While this isn’t a comparison between the R1 and the Jabra SP700 speakerphones, perhaps the best summary for this review is this — I now have both devices accessible to me and the one I will likely be using is the R1. Why? Because when all is said and done, ease of use is second only to sound quality and the large, easy-to-use buttons make using the R1 in the car a breeze.

For more information on this and other iVoice  products visit the website  www.theivoice.com

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