Jabra Cruiser Bluetooth speakerphone
Jabra's Cruiser isn't just a Bluetooth speakerphone: it also acts as an FM transmitter
- Channels phone audio and music to a car stereo, affordable (US$70), easy-to-set-up in-car Bluetooth device
- Pairing multiple phones in a car can be iffy, available FM frequencies can shift on long trips
The Jabra Cruiser delivers hands-free calls and music over your car's stereo with minimal hassle.
The Jabra Cruiser is the latest car-friendly Bluetooth gizmo to promise hands-free use of your cell phone while driving, but the device's talents don't stop there. A new member of the Jabra Smart Series, which includes the Jabra SP700 Bluetooth car speakerphone, this shiny black device (which resembles a small, flattened-out flying saucer) can also transmit phone calls and play any music on your cell phone through your car's FM radio.
I tested a shipping unit in my aging Honda Accord, using a couple of iPhones as phone and music sources, and was impressed overall--though I did run into some usability glitches, most of which involved pairing with two phones (a supported feature).
To set up the Cruiser, you must first charge it via a USB cable attached to a PC; the device doesn't come with a standard plug, but it does include a car charger that the USB cable can connect to when it's inside the vehicle. Turning the charged device on for the first time activates pairing mode (the Cruiser's built-in voice announcement system will confirm this); you then complete the pairing with your phone's Bluetooth utility.
Inside your vehicle, you clip the Cruiser to a sun visor (the device's wire clip also functions as an antenna), and at once it's ready to function as a speakerphone; to answer calls, you simply press a button (you can initiate calls on your cell phone, too, and they will automatically transfer to the Cruiser). In speakerphone mode, audio quality for the driver is only so-so; but when I received calls from a driver using the Cruiser, he sounded as good as if he were holding the cell phone to his head.
Not surprisingly, switching to FM mode dramatically improves audio quality for the in-car user. To make this switch, you press a button on the left side of the Cruiser; an FM status light turns on, and the Cruiser announces a frequency. You then tune your car radio to that frequency, and--if nothing else is broadcasting on it--you're good to go. Incoming calls will automatically play through the stereo, as will any music that you play. Everything sounded terrific in my tests.
Some of the Cruiser's more exotic controls aren't intuitive. For example, it can put a call on hold and let you answer a waiting call, and it can transfer a call from your cell phone to the speaker and back. It's a good idea to keep the manual handy in the car, at least until you've mastered all of the features you may want to use. Depending on the phone you're using, the Cruiser also supports such advanced features as voice dialling and reading the name of a caller whose number is in your address book (by default, the Cruiser simply reads the caller ID phone number).
I did run into some problems after syncing my two iPhones to the Cruiser. Whenever the first phone I connected was in range, the Cruiser would try to pair up with it, even if I was using it to play music with the second phone. Jabra's manual says that the Cruiser's last-call redial feature will always dial whatever the most recently dialled number was, regardless of which phone you were using, but I saw no good explanation for dropping a live connection.
Using the FM hookup can be complicated, as well. If you happen to drive into an area where your frequency is already in use, you must manually scan for a free frequency and then manually tune in the Cruiser. This can be a problem on long trips, where you'll inevitably run into a commercial station using the (formerly available) frequency that you set the Cruiser to. You can manually select a new frequency, of course, but reconnecting is annoying.
Overall, I'd recommend the Cruiser if you are on a budget and are looking for an affordable (US$70), easy-setup device to support hands-free calls in an older vehicle (some new cars have this functionality built-in). The ability to channel audio through your stereo can make a big difference if you have to take calls in your car.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 3 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 4 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
- 5 Telstra Wi-Fi 4GX Advanced III review: Testing the world's first 600Mbps wireless hotspot
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- How Intel knocked itself out of the smartphone chip market
- Intel's Atom architecture to live on despite smartphone chip cancellations
- Galaxy Note 6 rumors hint at IR autofocus, USB-C connectivity, new Snapdragon SoC
- LG shows off a smartphone display panel with integrated fingerprint reader
- Smartphone uptake passes its peak as industry appetite wanes
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCContract Contract Junior Programmer (JUD-16493-4)Asia
- CCSAP BASIS ConsultantVIC
- CCFront end web developer - JUNE / JULY STARTACT
- FTApplication Manager | Telco IndustryVIC
- CCL3 - Network Design and Support EngineerNSW
- FTWeb DeveloperSA
- FTOIM Specialist- Oracle Identity and Access Management 11Gr2NSW
- CCNetwork DesignerVIC
- CCSenior IT Business AnalystVIC
- FTTechnical/Solutions ArchitectNSW
- CCServiceNow / SACM ConsultantNSW
- CCMEAN Stack DeveloperVIC
- CCSAP BW developerVIC
- CCFront end and Full Stack DevelopersNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - Workforce ManagementVIC
- CCService Desk OperatorACT
- CCInfrastructure Engineer - Windows, VMWare, HyperVWA
- FTSenior iOS DeveloperNSW
- CCSr System AnalystACT
- FTData AnalystNSW
- FTService Coordinator/Scheduler | IT Managed Service ProviderVIC
- CCProject Support CoordinatorQLD
- CCInteraction & Visual - Web DesignerNSW
- CCFront End Developer x 2QLD
- CCWindows Automation EngineerVIC