Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Bluetrek SurfaceSound Compact
- Quite versatile, great range on the microphone, great volume levels
- Interface can be quite confusing due to limited buttons
The Bluetrek SurfaceSound Compact is a versatile handsfree mobile accessory. It's not a perfect product, but should suit the needs of most users.
Price$ 139.90 (AUD)
The Bluetrek SurfaceSound Compact is a slimline Bluetooth speaker designed for handsfree, in-car use. With good volume levels and solid reception it works quite well, although using some of its features can be slightly confusing at times. It's not the cheapest handsfree solution available, but its versatility helps make up for this.
Bluetooth connectivity is quite good, and we were able to get the unit connected to our phone within about 20 seconds. The range isn't great, but as long we kept the phone within about a metre of the unit we didn't have any problems. The SurfaceSound Compact itself makes a somewhat annoying beeping sound while trying to connect, but otherwise the Bluetooth functionality is fine.
We found volume to be excellent in our tests, both for incoming and outgoing communication. The microphone was able to clearly pick up speech from up to two metres distance, and the speaker produced good audio with a minimum of distortion; again it was easily audible at distances of up to two metres.
The design is quite innovative; a slimline speaker panel is connected to a fold out microphone arm, which when extended turns the device on. A clip on the back allows it to be attached to sun visors or any other similar device, making handsfree communication while driving a breeze. The fold out microphone arm can also act as a stand for use in other areas, helping to make the SurfaceSound Compact more versatile by allowing it to be used as a speaker phone peripheral as well.
Our biggest complaint with the product was the relatively obscure nature of the interface. Only three buttons are present: "Talk", "Volume +" and "Volume -". All the functions, such as call transfers, hold, call waiting, Bluetooth connections, making and answering calls are controlled by various combinations of these buttons, pressing them either multiple times, in conjunction, or for set periods of time. There certainly appears to be enough room on the device to add more buttons, and a clearer and simpler interface would go a long way towards making this product more intuitive.
The SurfaceSound Compact comes with a USB charging cable and car cigarette lighter plug in, as well as a pair of earphones for private calls. The earphones are of reasonable quality, nothing exceptional, but good enough for phone calls. Users also have the ability to plug in their own earphones or headphones if they'd prefer.
Overall, Bluetrek's SurfaceSound Compact is a highly useful, if at times confusing, product. Its relatively high price means that it's probably best suited to users who wish to take full advantage of its versatility and portability; however, anyone in the market for a handsfree mobile device should be pleased with this product.
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