Bluetrek: Bluetooth Gear From Playful to Professional
When we first started looking at Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones, there wasn’t a lot of variety. Most gear looked and felt pretty similar, offering competitive audio quality, and little to differentiate them. But one of the first to really stand out in the automotive speakerphone space was the Surface Sound Compact, a classy unit that offered best-in-class performance.
Much has changed since then- better microphones and performance, battery life, and aesthetics. But the company behind that lovely piece has pushed into new areas, and we’ve got two of their latest products on hand to test. One of them is a little goofy, while the other is one of the lighter headsets that we’ve seen.
We’ll start with the Bluetrek Speaky. This little guy offers a style that isn’t for everyone- available in two colors, bright pink or black, he comes emblazoned with a message instead of a logo. Meant to sit on your dashboard, we were pretty skeptical- he seemed likely to be prone to tipping, and the unusual microphone and speaker placement made it seem like an odd design. Setup was easy, pairing to our iPhone required no PIN, and then we hit the road. Included in the package are the usual accessories- Speaky charges via your car’s built-in cigarette lighter, and comes with velcro stickers to help him stay in place. Both worked fine, as did the nifty motion sensor that activates the unit automatically and lets him fall asleep after 5 minutes of inactivity. We loved that you could answer a call by pressing on his belly, and adjust volume using his arm- they didn’t always work perfectly but were good enough.
Bluetooth 3.0 support is built-in, though we weren’t impressed by audio quality (the speaker was definitely a bit muffled, the microphone decent but with little noise-cancelling and perhaps affected negatively by placement). Battery life is decent, at six hours of talk time, but this is a hands free device that you should choose or reject mostly based on style. The price is decent, running under $60, and Speaky is available now online and in stores.
For those in need of a more professional, everyday solution, Bluetrek’s Carbon Bluetooth headset offers a great balance of weight, battery life, price, quality, and style. We’ve seen tons of headsets, offering everything from Star Trek looks to really solid performance in windy conditions, but this one offers something new. Of course, carbon fiber is partially a marketing gimmick- but it does look cool, and is super lightweight, both of which are put to good use here. A 2012 CES Innovations Award Winner, this model is a solid contender. Weighing only 5.9 grams, the battery life is nonetheless decent at four or so hours, and it offers many of the usual Bluetooth extras, including Multipoint (allowing you to connect two devices simultaneously), simplified no-pin pairing, and voice alerts. Unfortunately, there is no A2DP, but it’s a headset and not a set of headphones, so we don’t really recommend using the Carbon for music listening. Voice quality is impressive; folks on the other end gave high marks to clarity and it outperformed many (but not all) others in noise cancellation. Wind noise was worse than some others, though, so consider your likely conditions before purchasing. Also, we did notice some fuzz and muffling on our end during calls, regardless of device type connected.
Comfort, always important when you’re going to be having something sit in your ear for a long period of time, was pretty good. The light weight and decent balance helped, as did the variety of ear tip sizes included. And an over-the-ear hook is included as well. Overall, the Carbon was really close to excellent- there was a lot to like here, and at a price around half of that of some others, we like where Bluetrek is going. With a distinctive and attractive design, it’s a deal at under $60, available online now.
Should you want to know more about them, visit www.bluetrek.com
Find more about SPEAKY at www.bluetrek.com
Visit here for more information about Bluetrek SPEAKY.
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