The Bluetooth headset has been in use for years, but it is and remains an excellent way of phoning safely while you’re driving. It’s easy to use and very affordable. The Plantronics Explorer 500, for instance, will cost you just €49.99.
You accept incoming calls by pressing the button once and to phone out, all it takes is a voice command via Siri (iPhone) or Google Now (Android). One advantage of this type of earpiece is that you can use it not only in the car, but equally well at the office or elsewhere.
One alternative to the Bluetooth earpiece is a carkit that you slide over the sun visor, such as Jabra Drive (€49.99). The functionality is similar, the difference being that you hear the person on the other end of the line via the inbuilt loudspeaker. There is usually a somewhat larger battery, as well, so this device does not need to be charged as often.
Handy: once it’s linked up to your mobile phone, the carkit will automatically make the connection as soon as you are within reach. In other words, you scarcely have to do anything at all. One great extra is that you can stream music from your smartphone to this Jabra. That’s possible with the following solution as well, except that it sounds much, much better.
One rung higher on the carkit ladder is the Parrot MKi9200 (€209). With this device, not only can you phone hands free, but it is also possible to play songs from your mp3 player (or smartphone) via the loudspeakers of your car radio. You then operate the music player with a small wireless remote control on the dashboard and a (detachable) color screen that even displays the album sleeves.
Other advantages include the dual microphone with noise suppression and voice recognition without a learning phase. If you are slightly technically minded, you can integrate the MKi9200 yourself. However, if you’re all fingers and thumbs, it’s best to leave this to an installer.
Are you are looking not only for a carkit, but coincidentally for a new sat nav system, as well? In that case, with a device like the TomTom Go 520 you can kill two birds with one stone.
Once connected with your smartphone Bluetooth, you can phone hands free via the loudspeaker and microphone of the TomTom. What’s more, the device displays the texts and other smartphone messages that you receive and if you wish, reads them out. Recommended price: €229.95.
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