[This week’s review for The Nifty Tech Blog is a Guest Review by Odin1Eye of the View from Valhalla blog. I’d like to thank Odin for being Nifty Tech’s first Guest Reviewer, and for providing such an interesting review. Enjoy! – Editor]
Welcome to Nifty Tech. I am your guest blogger, Odin1Eye, and today I will be detailing the wonders of the BluBridge Auto-Talk by Miccus. So please, relax, put down your tray table, recline way back and enjoy the ride.
The BluBridge Auto-Talk (BBAT) device by Miccus is a straightforward hands-free bluetooth speaker phone device. As such it is priced at what I would consider to be slightly above the mean at US $99.99. However, doing a quick web search will (on most weeks) provide sites that have it at a much more reasonable $59.99.
As it’s name indicates, the BBAT is intended for the commuter. In many areas of the country, using a cell phone while driving has begun to become highly regulated. Currently, in the state of Texas, you can drive with a cell phone, but must use a hands free device in school zones. This on again off again legality makes the probability of an accidental violation much more likely and many drivers are opting for hands-free solutions. As well as using it during the drive, it can easily be used as a desk speakerphone if your cell phone’s speaker is not loud enough.
The BBAT is about the size (and looks roughly similar) to a closed communicator from Star Trek TOS. (No, it doesn’t open.) The exact dimensions, provided by Miccus, are 3.89”L x 2.16”W x .66”H. The device utilizes only four buttons. The largest of the four by far is the Talk button, and is nicely placed in the middle of the device. This button also functions to power on/off the device. Two small toggle buttons reside underneath the Talk button providing volume and a small mute button hides on the left hand side.
The BBAT easily pairs to your cell phone and is quite easy to setup. Initially, probably due to user error, I had to re-pair the device several times, but after fairly heavy use, I can say this has not happened since getting to know the device.
The BBAT also will allow you to Voice Dial if your cell phone supports it. Since my iPhone 3GS does, it was one of the first things I had to try. Simply depress the talk button briefly, and the speaker chirps and your phone is ready to accept your voice command. Specifically in regards to the iPhone 3GS, you can also use this capability to “tell” your iPhone what music you want to hear if you have it set up to play through your car stereo.
It is also quiet easy to download your address book into the BBAT. Why would you want to do this? Because the BBAT also supports Caller ID. By default it will tell you the number of the person calling you, and once the address book is loaded, it will phonetically pronounce the name of your caller (sometimes with hilarious results).
The speaker volume and quality is really quite good from a relatively diminutive device. The BBAT has a suction cup bracket that ships with it. The intent is that you will place it in the corner of your windshield and basically forget about it. Great in theory, but in my experience this didn’t work quite as well as would be hoped, but about as well as would be expected. Placed on the windshield, the device resides a considerable distance from the speaker, this distance, and the obligatory road noise, results in a situation where the listener is unable to discern what the speaker is saying. This was easily remedied, however, by moving the device to the side window. Once this was accomplished, all of my test callers were unable to distinguish any difference from my normal call quality. (Don’t forget to remove it before rolling down the window however.)
One more note on the suction cup bracket however. The bracket doesn’t seem to hold the BBAT quite as snugly as would be hoped and with placing it right beside your ear, you will hear a bit of rattle occasionally which can be a bit annoying.
So, the BBAT is a great little device, but Bluetooth speaker devices are nothing exceptionally new, so what makes this worthy of NiftyTech?
Well, as the device is suction cupped to your window, it is in reality also charging via the solar panel built into the back of the BBAT. The fine folks at Miccus have created a Bluetooth device that easily defeats my biggest criticism of Bluetooth devices. I can never keep the danged things charged!
Miccus states the the BBAT provides a huge 800+ hours of standby time, (that is over a month of standby time!) which is quite remarkable in itself, and 13 hours of talk time! Add to this fact that as long as you live somewhere that sees the sun at least ones a month, you will more than likely NEVER need to charge the BBAT!
When I initially heard of this device, I felt it was too expensive. However, I told a coworker about it and he rushed out and purchased one at Buy.com during the Christmas sale at $49.99. After having borrowed his for a bit, I decided it was a must and now have one for myself. I truly enjoy it and would recommend it highly to anyone that spends any amount of time commuting and has a Bluetooth cell phone.
[Odin1eye is a husband and a father. To make the odd coin to pay the bills, he also works as a Teacher Educator. In what little spare time is left to him, he publishes the blog View from Valhalla, known for his series of podcast reviews. Odin has retired from the leadership of the Norse Gods, and lives with his wife and godlings in South Texas.
If you’d like to be a Guest Blogger for The Nifty Tech Blog, write to us at NiftyTech@NiftyTechBlog.com. Give an example of what you’d like to review and why it should be Nifty Tech. – Editor]