Products & Reviews
Jabra SP100 Speakerphone
Mon May 23, 2005 - 6:55 PM EDT - By
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> Overview Conclusion
Overview The Jabra SP100 is a Bluetooth speakerphone with a much louder speaker than the one built in to the Treo and can easily mount to the windshield or visor. Included rechargeable double AA batteries can also be replaced with regular alkaline batteries.
The Jabra SP100 has a unique design befitting a device that is solely intended for wireless speakerphone use. Instead of a small lightweight earpiece, the SP100 is designed to comfortably sit on a desk. It has a large speaker, solid base, and a protruding boom microphone. No worry about looks, as the SP100 has an unobtrusive design. A little larger than a mouse, it is a gray oval with silver speaker and multifunction button. The microphone is on a swivel arm allowing for precise positioning, and on the side is a mute button.
The SP100 ships with two rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride double AA batteries. They charge while in the base via the included lightweight AC adapter. This is the sort of AC adapter I prefer: with a horizontal orientation that allows it to slip into a power strip without obscuring an adjacent slot. Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, unlike the Lithium Ion batteries do suffer from a memory effect and at some point may need to be replaced. Also, if you are a minimalist traveler, than you can simply use disposal batteries (but absolutely not in conjunction with the AC adapter). The initial charge takes about 2 hours and the unit can be used while plugged into the AC adapter.
To pair the SP100 with the Treo, the manual instructs you to press down the main phone button on the face of the unit while simultaneously pressing the mute button. For whatever reason, this took me three tries to get the magical solid blue light. On successive attempts, I also had to try more than once. Running the pairing procedure on the Treo was simple (tap the Bluetooth icon and follow the prompts) and the devices were paired. The passcode for Bluetooth pairing is four zeros. The manual, in English, French, and Spanish, is clear, clean, and simple.
Buttons on the SP100 include the main multifunction talk button, which supports call waiting, pickup, or transfer of calls, and of course hang up. The small mute button on the left hand side and volume dial work as advertised.
Using the speakerphone is extremely easy. Outgoing calls are automatically transferred to the speakerphone. For incoming calls, the speakerphone will ring and you simply need to press the multi-function button to pick up the call.
The SP100 is also designed as an in-car speakerphone and to that end, it is possible to turn off the blinking LED status lights simply by pressing the mute button for ten seconds. There is a very interesting warning in the manual not only stating that driving while on the phone may well increase the risk of accidents, it has not been shown that hands free phones are any safer than handset phones.
Of course the most important consideration of a phone such as this is sound quality. Alas, the circuitry in the Jabra SP100 seems to be counter-productive. Phones, especially speakerphones, have a noise gate threshold that monitors signal and amplitude. In plain English, this means the microphone cuts out under certain conditions to protect against unwanted noise. When the speakerphone determines that you are not speaking, it will clamp down to reduce background noise. If the Noise Gate is too sensitive or simply not adjusted correctly, words are clipped, especially at the beginning and ending of your speech and this is the case with this speakerphone. The SP100 also magnifies room noise. Several people I talked to said that it was like talking in a large echoic space.
A car charger and wall charger are included as well as a visor clip and suction mount though because of sound quality issues, I found conversations difficult in the car. To be fair, under many conditions phone conversations in the car are difficult.
On my desk are a multitude of cases, headsets, speakerphones for testing. Sometimes my 1 year old will grab something and start banging on it, banging with it or pulling at it. Often, I watch with bemused interest as it is put through the "real world" stress test. Alas, the Jabra SP100 was one of his victims. At one point, he got a hold of it and went to work on it. Although the microphone still works, the speaker is kaput. Fortunately, there is no sign of damage and in a case like this you could hopefully get the unit replaced under warranty.
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