Bluetooth Car Kit Review: Jabra Freeway In-Car Speakerphone Review Reviewed by Tong Zhang
Editor's Rating (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Great voice quality and very loud, good DSP, and excellent voice guidance.
What's Not: It gets mixed results when voice dialing via the car kit.
Jabra has been making Bluetooth hands-free products for a long time, and their newest car kit, the Jabra Freeway, incorporates the latest Bluetooth technology and provides very loud and super clear sound in cars or offices. The speakerphone has 3 speakers built-in with virtual surround sound technology, built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with multi-pairing and it can work with two Bluetooth phones simultaneously. The Jabra Freeway has very effective DSP and it's very easy to use thanks to the voice activated commands that walk you through all operations.
Jabra Freeway with an iPhone 4:
The Jabra Freeway In-Car Speakerphone has a nice design. The unit measures 3.9 x 4.7 x 0.7 inches and weighs 4.05 oz. It has a wired clip that can securely clip the speaker to your car?s sun visor, and it can also tilt the speaker up on the curved wire if you use it on a desk in the office. The Jabra Freeway has a soft touch exterior that hides the very large Call answer/end button, as well as the FM, Voice command, Volume up and down and mute buttons. All buttons are clearly marked and easy to use even when driving. The Jabra Freeway has three front firing speakers and a mesh cover that hides the speakers but lets the sound clearly through. The Jabra Freeway goes to sleep automatically but it has a hardware power on/off button on the right side along with a charging port that also supports data for future updates and installing software. The kit comes with a car DC adapter and USB cable for charging and syncing.
Pairing and Features
The Jabra Freeway has Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and offers Bluetooth features such as auto pairing (entering secure code for you automatically), multi-pairing and multipoint connect (working with 2 Bluetooth devices simultaneously). The biggest feature of them all is perhaps the voice guidance that walks you through pairing process. When you turn the car kit on for the first time, the voice prompt comes on and lets you know that the car kit is in pairing mode and walks you through what to do to complete the pairing process. For subsequent pairing, press the ?Voice? button on the Jabra Freeway to bring up the voice command, and say ?Pairing?, the car kit will put itself in pairing mode and walks you through the process via voice guidance. It?s easy and painless. Alternatively you can press and hold the call button to put the kit in pairing mode. You can pair the car kit with any Bluetooth device, and pair it with up to 8 devices. It can work with 2 devices at a time for answering calls, and has A2DP for stereo audio streaming. We tested it with several mobile phones, and the Jabra Freeway paired with all easily and worked with them smoothly via hands-free and A2DP.
Jabra Freeway with an HTC EVO 3D:
The voice guidance allows you to answer, end or reject calls via voice command, and it can also redial and call back last number via the built-in voice command. For dialing out, the car kit lets you use your phone?s built-in voice dialing. We found that voice dialing via the car kit has a bit of different result from voice dialing directly on the phones. You get more mixed choices via the car kit while you get more direct result when you use the phone directly. Other than voice dialing, the car kit can also check battery level and play music and remote control music and volume (via AVRCP) using voice command.
The Jabra Freeway in-car speaker has an additional feature built-in, FM transmitter. There is a hardware button on the car kit to launch the FM transmitter to work with your car audio system, and allows your phone?s music, voice calls and GPS directions to go through the stereo audio system in your car. When you turn on the FM transmitter on the Jabra Freeway, it will announce the frequency in which the phone audio comes on. Press the FM button quickly again to transfer the voice back to the car kit.
Voice Quality and Range
The Jabra Freeway car kit has superb audio thanks to three loud speakers built-in. The speakerphone is also very loud and sound is full. The voice used in the car kit has natural speaking voice, not a machine or software robot voice. Call voice quality is excellent and the car kit has a strong DSP. We tested it with several Android smartphones including the Samsung Exhibit 4G, the HTC EVO 3D and the Motorola XPRT, as well as the iPhone 4, the Jabra Freeway in-car speakerphone had outstanding call voice on both incoming and outgoing ends when working with every phone we tested. The car kit?s DSP filtered out road noise, and since the sound was very loud even when volume was set at medium high, we had no trouble hearing our conversations while driving and our call recipients had no trouble understanding us at all. The Jabra Freeway succeeds as an in-vehicle hands free solution in call quality.
The range between the Jabra Freeway car kit and the phones it works with is about 20-25 feet. The Jabra Freeway car kit has a built-in motion sensor, so if you leave the Bluetooth speakerphone on standby, when you get in your car, it will automatically turn on and reconnect with your phone. It will turn off automatically when you leave your car. If you are using the car kit in the office, by moving the speakerphone you will trigger the motion sensor, and the car kit will turn on automatically. The voice guidance will announce the power on and off actions so you know what?s going on.
The Jabra Freeway supports A2DP and AVRCP for stereo streaming. It streams music, GPS directions, system sound, gaming audio and more if your phone supports it. Stereo audio sounds very full and super loud for a portable speaker, and music streaming is very smooth. You will enjoy listening to music on the Jabra Freeway, and forget it?s streaming via a car kit. We tested MP3 players, including the iPod touch, with Bluetooth using the Jabra Freeway as speakers, and found the audio excellent and loud.
The Jabra Freeway has a built-in rechargeable battery that?s 800mA in capacity. You can charge the car kit via either a computer or in-vehicle DC using the included USB cable and DC adapter. It takes about 2 hours to fully charge the car kit, and the battery indicator light will go out when the battery is fully charged. The car kit has a claimed 14-hour max talk time and 20-day max standby. We found the talk time was closer to 10 hours and the claimed standby time to be accurate in our tests. The car kit will turn itself off when you are not in the car or inactivity quite quickly, and you can turn it off using the power button when you are done using it for the day to conserve power.
If you are looking for a new Bluetooth car kit, the Jabra Freeway has all the new bells and whistles that come with the new version of Bluetooth. The in-car speakerphone is super loud and has very good voice quality both in calls and while streaming music. The car kit is very easy to use thanks to the built-in voice guidance, and it?s easy to pair with any Bluetooth device. Call quality is very good and the DSP is very effective.
Package contains the Jabra Freeway in-car speakerphone, 1 USB cable, 1 car charger and printed quick start guide.
Technical Specs: -Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR -Profiles supported: Headset, Hands-Free, A2DP, AVRCP, PBAP -Claimed talk time: 14 hours -Claimed standby time: 20 days -Headset size: 3.9 x 4.7 x 0.7inches -Headset weight: 4.05 ounces -AC adapter: Comes with only DC adapter