Huh? What Did You Say?
All of these things are secondary to voice quality. While the speaker on the Anycom Solar Car Kit is perfectly adequate, even when I had the car stereo playing at a low-to-moderate level, the microphone was very disappointing. It could not recognize any of my voice-dial tags unless I turned my stereo off, talked really loud, and leaned into where the device was mounted on my windshield. This can’t possibly be very safe having my face shoved into it while driving.
Maybe it was because of the voice recognition software, right? Well, the person on the other side of the line said that I sounded very “distant” and had a very difficult time hearing what I was saying. When I tried being the person on the other end, I felt the same frustration, barely being able to hear my co-converser. A bad mic ruins any Bluetooth product.
Anycom had a rather interesting idea for the Bluetooth Solar Car-Kit. I can certainly appreciate its ability to keep the battery topped up throughout a lengthy drive, assuming that you have it optimally placed on your windshield. Installation was relatively easy, with the exception of the suction cups that took a little work to wedge into the holster. The compact footprint is also a huge plus in the cramped quarters of some vehicles.
On the downside, the solar panel isn’t all that practical, unless you want to invite gadget thieves into your car. Worst still, as mentioned, the microphone appears to be very weak — it’s just a pinhole in the side — which fundamentally ruins any prospect of me recommending this item. If you need a Bluetooth speaker for your car, I’d say that you’re better off with a product like the BlueAnt Supertooth Bluetooth Handsfree Speakerphone, even though it’s a fair bit bigger. The microphone on it is much better. However, this could be an interesting addition to that “Prius” or other hybrid for the full eco-friendly effect.
- Innovative integration of a solar panel
- Reasonably easy to setup and install
- Very compact form factor
- Speaker is loud and clear
- Controls can be awkward and confusing
- Solar panel is a gimmick
- Microphone doesn’t work very well
- Not very practical
- Glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet
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