Motorola Roadster review: Bluetooth speaker with a soul

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The Motorola Roadster is the best Bluetooth accessory ever sold. The best. It is easy to set up, charge, operate, and, even more impressive, it’s smart. Really smart.

Setup

The Roadster is the first Bluetooth accessory to kindly explain that it is ready to be paired to my cell phone. Think about all of the Bluetooth earpieces you have set up using a confusing combination of buttons and beeps. Did it pair successfully? Is it ready to pair? What is the code I need to type in? It is virtually impossible to set up an earpiece without carefully reviewing the manual. Well, the Roadster changes that.

Plug it in, flip the Power switch, and you hear, “Ready to pair. Go to Bluetooth menu on phone to complete pairing. Enter 0000 if required.” Imagine that – Instructions spoken to you through the built-in speaker. Now, that’s innovation. Once the connection has been made you hear, “iPhone connected. Battery level low.” This information is announced each time the Roadster connects to your cell phone.

Now you are ready to slide it onto your car’s visor. With small Bluetooth earpieces (my personal favorite is the Jawbone), it’s a constant battle to make and receive phone calls. You have to find the earpiece, slide it on your ear, make sure it’s turned on, and pray that you remembered to actually charge it. Let’s review how the Roadster improves the in-car Bluetooth experience: Where is it? Oh it’s on the visor. Turned on? It automatically turns itself on and off depending on your phone’s presence in the car thanks to Bluetooth. Charged? If it’s low on battery life after 3 weeks of standby or 20 hours of talking, just connect it to your car’s power adaptor (cigarette lighter) with the included cable.

Making and Receiving Calls

Pressing buttons is so 2009. Single tap to answer and double tap to ignore? Or is it the other way around? Where’s that button? Did I actually press it twice? The Roadster asks what you want it to do, and then it listens for your answer or ignore commands. (Remember when I said this thing was smart?) Instead of hearing a dull beep when someone calls like you do with typical earpieces, the Roadster announces the caller’s name or number.

One assumed advantage a Bluetooth earpiece has over the Roadster is the microphone’s proximity to your mouth. The Roadster is at least six inches away unlike a standard earpiece that rests against your cheek. Naturally, the earpiece should provide better call quality right? The Roadster combats this advantage by using 2 microphones in a fancy way to block out road noise.

Music

Those who do not have a USB or stereo connection to an MP3 player in your car are in luck. The Roadster offers a fantastic way to listen to the music on your phone through your car’s speakers using Bluetooth and an FM transmitter. This functionality should bring back fond memories for those who years ago purchased a Griffin Technology iTrip to stream music from an iPod to an FM radio. Here’s how your music flies:

Cell phone -> Bluetooth -> Motorola Roadster -> FM broadcast -> Car radio

The goal is to find a radio station that is clear of traffic. The Roadster broadcasts your phone’s music onto that station, and your car hears it. The quality is surprisingly good.

 

Where to Buy

The Motorola Roadster is available on Amazon for $55. If you are sick of the crappy Bluetooth earpieces offered by AT&T and Verizon salespeople, I highly recommend this robust, feature-rich, reliable alternative.

  • No

    Thinking about buying this device tomorrow. I’ve been looking at all sorts of reviews. Do you know if you can do the voice commands with out having to touch the device? My Blueant S4 will allow me to just say a command and it will work. I hardly ever have to touch this device to play music or make a call out.

  • Bobbydunn

    Hi  I cant seem to get my roadster to work with my lg spectrum. when it is connected and it gets a call all you hear is the connected phones ringtone. buttons do nothing. cant answer with buttons. its says bluetooth connected and than thats all. it worked fine on a non android phone. my spectrum is 2.3.4 gingerbread. anyone have any  ideas? ty

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