A GREEN BLUETOOTH SPEAKERPHONE FOR YOUR CELL PHONE…
(and it works too!)
© 2010 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
As we all know driving and using a cell phone is dangerous and perhaps even illegal, unless we have some form of hands free device. Most phones manufactured today offer a Bluetooth feature allowing external, wireless, accessories to be interconnected. I tested one such accessory by Scosche, known as the SolCHAT II.
The SolCHAT II is solar powered, however, a USB/DC plug is included for cloudy days. I’ve never resorted to its use even though my car is parked in an open-air garage under a building. The SolCHAT II also includes a housing that can mount the unit to your windshield via suction cups, or a visor clip, and makes it easy to remove the device from the mount when leaving the vehicle.
(TIP: Suction cup installation is probably the best, however suction cups will eventually detach from the glass surface. As a precaution, to minimize the possibility of loosing the speakerphone, I attached a small wire, such as a fishing leader, and connected it to the interior plastic windshield molding.)
A handy feature of the SolCHAT II is the ability to transfer up to 1000 of your phone’s contacts to the device. Doing so now permits audible caller ID and voice recognition dialing directly from your personal contact list, truly making this “hands free operation”. It is also possible to easily transfer in and out of the speakerphone mode for private conversations, naturally, when you are not the driver.
(TIP: How you names, last name first, or whatever, are entered into your phone’s contact list, will effect how the speakerphone recognizes, or announces the name via the caller ID feature.)
I found the SolCHAT II worked well with my iPhone, however, it should perform equally as well on most other brands providing they include Bluetooth technology. Since it’s powered by solar energy, or 12 volts DC, and offers a language selection that includes English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, it is a worldwide product. The built-in volume control offers sufficient range of audio levels for front seat operation. The only exception to this would be a noisy AC system, or having the windows down, both correctable scenarios when using the unit. The only other issue I found is that if you leave the vehicle, out of Bluetooth range, the device naturally disconnects from your phone, but remains powered up for a few minutes. Upon your return your phone will not reconnect and the SolCHAT II will automatically power off after ten minutes. I guess the auto shutdown feature out weighs a reconnect one?
The SolCHAT II is available on line and at retail, including the Apple store. For further details go to: www.scosche.com/products and select BLUETOOTH > HANDSFREE.
GADGETEER’S RATING: H H H H H