What's hot:Portable, great voice quality, very effective DSP.
What's not:Needs more call management features. No A2DP support.
Review posted February 2011 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
SuperTooth has been making Bluetooth hands-free car kits for several years. They’ve recently entered the portable music speaker market with the SuperTooth Disco Bluetooth stereo speaker system, but they intend to keep the music speakers and voice call car kits in separate lines. The SuperTooth Buddy has Bluetooth 2.1 with multi-pairing support, and it works with Headset and Hands-Free profiles but no A2DP/AVRCP support. The SuperTooth Buddy has clear voice, though some phones sound clearer than others. It also has loud volume and it’s easy to use. If you are looking for a portable car kit with good voice, SupoerTooth Buddy might just be the thing.
If you have seen the product pictures of the SuperTooth Buddy on their web site, you’d think the car kit is large. But it’s actually quite portable. Measuring 5.08 x 1.93 x 0.57, the SuperTooth Buddy looks slim and has a curved body. The back and most of the front of the car kit have non-slippery surfaces that make it easy to handle. Control buttons on the SuperTooth Buddy are easy to use; they are large and far apart enough so that you don’t press the wrong button accidentally while keeping your eyes on the road. When you clip the car kit on your car visor, the volume buttons sit on top while the call end button and power button live on the bottom portion of the car kit. The multi-function button for answering incoming calls, voice dialing and audio transfer sits on the only shiny part of the speaker, the center trip, and it’s also large. An LED light hides behind the multi-function button and indicates Bluetooth status and battery life status. The microphone hole is the left side of the car kit.
The SuperTooth Buddy has a micro-USB charging port on the back and comes with a USB/micro-USB cable as well as an in-vehicle DC charger. For indoor charging, you can use a computer to charge the car kit via the USB cable. The way that the SuperTooth Buddy attaches to the car’s sun visor clip is via a coin magnet. The magnet is quite strong and has no trouble holding the car kit securely to the clip. This is a clever design that allows users who want to use the car kit in the car as well as in the office as it’s easy to quickly grab it off of the clip.
Pairing and Features
The SuperTooth Buddy has Bluetooth v2.1 with features such as auto pairing (entering secure code automatically), pairing with up to 8 devices and multipoint pairing (working with 2 devices simultaneously). We paired the SuperTooth Buddy with several devices and it paired with all easily. To pair the SuperTooth Buddy, while it’s off, press and hold the on/off button until the LED flashes blue and red alternately and you hear the audio alert. Use your cell phone to pair and connect with the car kit. The SuperTooth Buddy saves the 8 most recently paired devices, and can connect to the last two devices with the last paired device as the primary connection partner. So if you use two phones, you can use the SuperTooth Buddy as wireless speaker for both.
The SuperTooth Buddy can answer and reject incoming calls. It also works well for voice dialing and last call redialing. One major call management feature that’s oddly missing is putting one call on hold while picking up another. We tested it with several phones, and had to hang up our first call before we could pick up an incoming call. If you are using the car kit with two phones simultaneously, be sure to read the printed user manual for directions for switching between the phones.
Voice Quality and Range
The overall call voice quality on the SuperTooth Buddy is great, and with some phones the voice quality borders on superb. The speakerphone has full duplex audio with echo canceling and a double noise canceller. The mic incorporates anti-echo and audio enhancement technology that makes outgoing voice clear and less harsh. The volume is loud when working with most phones and the DSP is very effective. Here are details from some our tests:
When working with the iPhone 4:
The SuperTooth Buddy had the loudest volume when working with the iPhone 4, though it didn’t have the best voice quality. We could hold conversations smoothly while using the car kit, but there were noticeable digitized effects on both incoming and outgoing ends. The DSP worked very effectively at filtering out noises from passing cars and moderate wind noise coming through a car window.
When working with the HTC EVO Shift 4G: The SuperTooth Buddy had noticeably better voice quality on both incoming voice and outgoing voice with the HTC EVO Shift 4G. Voice sounded clearer than on the iPhone and was more natural. Volume was lower on the HTC EVO Shift 4G, but it was still plenty loud. The DSP worked consistently well at canceling out noise from the road and wind.
When working with the Motorola CLIQ 2: The SuperTooth Buddy had best voice quality on both incoming and outgoing ends when working with the Motorola CLIQ 2. Calls sounded not only very clear but also very natural. Some of our call recipients thought we were using the phone directly instead of through a car kit. Volume again was lower than the iPhone 4, and again once we turned up the volume, it was loud enough. The DSP worked like a charm on the SuperTooth, filtering out road and wind noise.
The SuperTooth Buddy has a built-in battery that’s rechargeable via a USB cable in car or your computer, and it takes about 3 hours to fully charge. The car kit has 20 hours of continuous talk time and its standby time is over 40 days. In our tests, these numbers seem to be on target.
The SuperTooth Buddy is an easy-to-use Bluetooth car kit that has great voice quality and loud volume. It worked well with most phones we tested it with, and the built-in Bluetooth 2.1 gives you pairing flexibility. The car kit is small and portable, and it can work in and out of the car. We love the battery life and the affordable price. The missing call management features will turn off some users though. Unfortunately, the SuperTooth Buddy lacks A2DP for audio streaming, and some apps such as GPS navigation, will not route audio through the SuperTooth Buddy.
Pro: Portable, great voice quality, very effective DSP
Con: Needs more call management features. No A2DP support.
Package contains the SuperTooth Buddy car kit, a USB/micro-USB cable, USB car charger, visor clip and printed manuals.
Technical Specs: -Bluetooth v2.1
-Profiles supported: Headset and Hands-Free profiles
-Claimed talk time: 20 hours
-Claimed standby time: 41 days
-Headset size: 5.08 x 1.93 x 0.57 inches
-Headset weight: 2.26 ounces
-AC adapter: Comes with only DC adapter