Somehow when Jabra sent me their new Freeway car speakerphone it came to my house instead of my office and when I opened the box I thought ho-hum – a speakerphone and unceremoniously placed it in the pile of mail which may or may not get looked at. But today I brought it to work and became thoroughly impressed with its features. Virtual surround sound, HD voice support, A2DP music streaming support, voice guidance for Caller-ID, intelligent speech recognition, motion sensing to conserve battery, 3 speakers, support for two simultaneous devices and that sound – oh that sound, you think the device must be much bigger than it is.
Yes, this diminutive little gadget a bit larger than a desktop mouse belted out music like a pro, told me when I had calls and generally impressed me to the point that I brought others in my company to share in the joy of putting the Jabra Freeway through its paces. I immediately paired multiple devices and had them fight to send dueling music streams. BTW Android beat iOS – but it think this may have more to do with the fact that the Android was paired second.
I then played around with the voice recognition which was dead accurate time and again. I didn’t sync my contacts allowing me even more functionality but I played a ton of music mostly from Genesis and it all sounded great. Perhaps the best complement for the gadget was from a coworker who wondered where the device was made. Without thinking I said “China of course,” and he responded – “They don’t make things of such quality in China.”
I glanced over on the corner of my desk at the brand new iPad charging. I got it today for my dad as a Father’s Day present. I then disagreed politely. He turned the Freeway over and turns out I was right.
These are the additional uses for this shiny new gadget beyond the obvious. As a speakerphone in your office, this thing excels and has 14 hours of talk time which is incredible for something which feels as light as a smartphone. In addition, you can throw it into a laptop bag and it will act as a speaker in your hotel room allowing you to enjoy some tunes while your work or play.
Car and male model sold separately
You can optionally have the Freeway transmit to an FM frequency to play via your car stereo system and even use the night mode to reduce the distraction from its built-in lights. An added plus is the fact this gadget uses Micro USB so you likely already have chargers for it lying around your house, work and in your travel bag.
In addition you can have it verbally tell you how much battery is left and download the latest firmware – something I didn’t try.
Room for improvement
I would have liked to have a full guide of all the voice commands I can give the device beyond pairing with a new device or asking it to redial.
I knew this device would cost more than $100 based on its features and when I searched online I did find a street price of about $120. The question is – is it worth this much and I have to answer yes. My concern is that over $95-$99 or so the price is more than what a consumer would expect to pay for something which many will compare to cheap Bluetooth junk wanna-be competitors.
Then again, even a somewhat similar device from Motorola costs about $60 with equivalent connectors.
But still, The Jabra Freeway is the Cadillac of Bluetooth hands free surround-sound high-quality speaker phones and you get what you pay for. I think it makes an awesome Father’s Day present. Wonder if it’s too late to return the iPad.