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Motorola T305 Portable Bluetooth Car Kit

Mon May 19, 2008 - 8:31 AM EDT - By Justin DeJarnette

Overview

One thing that really, really gets under my skin is when I see people driving around with the wheel in one hand and a cell phone in the other, chatting away when they should be focusing on the road. We’ve all seen it: people changing lanes at unfortunate times (without signaling, of course, because their hands are otherwise occupied), driving too slow in the fast lane, veering from one side of the lane to the other, braking erratically... I could go on and on. Apparently I’m not the only one who finds this practice utterly ridiculous, as a few states and several localities have begun to enact “hands-free” laws, which essentially ban holding the phone to your head (many of these laws also ban the so-dumb-I-can’t-believe-people-actually-do-it practice of text messaging while driving). I happen to work in New Jersey, a state that not only has such laws, but also makes the violation a primary offense, meaning that the coppers can pull you over and ticket you just for driving-while-yakking.

Fortunately there are solutions like the Motorola T305 Portable Car Kit, which includes a Bluetooth-enabled speakerphone, a cigarette lighter power adapter, and a reversible visor clip. (The T305 is branded as a “car kit,” but can also be used in the home or office or anywhere else.) At this point you might be thinking, “Why would I need such a thing. My Treo/Centro has a speakerphone built in.” The problem is that your phone’s speakerphone function is severely limited, and not designed for use in a car or anywhere else where there is any significant background noise at all. Bluetooth speakerphones such as the T305 have more powerful speakers, microphones, and stuff like “echo and noise technology” which are dedicated to the purpose of making your calls sound better.


Setup/Operation

The T305 is simple to set up: just pair it with your phone the first time you use it, then power up and press the blue button to connect it to the phone when you want to talk. There are well-placed, accessible volume buttons, one on each side of the unit. The visor clip works very well. The clip is reversible, which allows you to attach the unit to the front or the rear of your visor. In my car, for instance, it is much better for me to clip the speakerphone to the rear of my visor, where it’s actually a little farther away from the top of my head. My voice projects more directly into the microphone with the unit in this position, and I can also hear the speaker better. Plus, I don’t hit my head on it getting in and out of the car anymore.


Performance

The T305’s sound quality is fantastic. Everyone I talked to heard me loud and clear. I have several different headsets, headphones and speakerphones that I use with my Centro, and my mother usually complains when I use anything wireless in our conversations. With the T305, she didn’t even realize I was on a speakerphone. (My father, however, said I sounded like I was in a hollow room during an indoor test, but he could hear everything I said just fine). I also tested the T305 with the sunroof open, with the radio up a bit, and with the windows down. When traveling less than 40 or so miles per hour, having the sunroof open and windows down really didn’t diminish call quality much at all. I could even turn the radio up to a moderate level before it became difficult to hear the caller. On the highway, I could have the sunroof open but had to keep the windows closed, as the wind was a little too loud. Honestly, that was asking a bit much, so I won’t hold this against the T305.

Also, with most speakerphones I have used (even other full-duplex speakerphones) there is often a lag in the transmission back and forth, and the conversation can easily get out-of-sync. The T305 handles conversations so well that I very rarely got that out-of-sync feeling.

If there is one, small thing I found troublesome about the T305 it’s the flashing, blue light that indicates when the unit has a Bluetooth connection. The light isn’t noticeable during the daytime, but at night it is very noticeable. Usually a flashing light, which is very common on Bluetooth products, doesn’t bother me that much and I can definitely live with this one. I also know that such a thing can be a deal breaker for some people, so I thought it was worth a mention.

Motorola claims 14 hours of talk time and 200 hours of standby time, which are impressive. I couldn’t talk on the phone for 14 hours if my life depended on it, but I tried to give it a good, thorough test. I talked more in the last several days than I have in the last month trying this thing out, and I still haven’t charged it except to test the mini-USB connection. (Any mini-USB charger, or a mini-USB-to-USB cord connected to a computer will charge the T305. Some Motorola products can only be charged with a Motorola-branded charger.) I’ll take Motorola’s word on the battery life. Plus, if you forget to turn it off when you get out of the car, the unit will power itself down after 30 minutes without a Bluetooth connection.


Conclusion

I very much recommend the T305 Car Kit. The superb call quality and great battery life make it a no-brainer for anyone looking for an alternative to risking life-and-limb to chat while driving. And if you live in an area where you run the risk of getting a ticket, you’re much better off spending the $64.95 and getting one of these now, right?





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Criteria 

Rating

Design 5
Usability 5
Features 5
Cost/Benefit 4
Overall
(not an average)
Pros
  • Great sound quality
  • Versatile visor clip
  • Mini-usb charging connection
  • Cons
  • Semi-annoying flashing light


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