So last September I decided to try out the SuperTooth HD hands-free speakerphone for the car. If you were a reader of Gadgetsteria or at least my ramblings you’ll remember I was pretty impressed with this device. So much so GS made itself into the brochures SuperTooth started shipping shortly after, and in time for CES 2012. Oh boy, CES 2012 had many incredible booths, one in which was the SuperTooth landscape. Breasts and Bluetooth devices seemed to be the common theme during the week, but since then, I’ve always kept my eye out for a new SuperTooth device to test out.
When I was contacted and asked if I wanted to give the slick SuperTooth Crystal a try, I had to jump on the chance. The images I saw really caught my eye and I knew this could be a nice device to have in my car.
To start, the design is actually quite beautiful. The ultra-sleek design and handful of color options can really look incredible in any vehicle. I was given the black model, but some of the other options look amazing on my computer screen! The design is pretty minimal. A very thin design doesn’t creat a gigantic blob on your visor, but hugs it closely and isn’t an eyes sore at all.
On the front of the Crystal we have a small multi-function button, your volume up/down buttons, power button and the end call button. We also have a small slit for the microphone and a speaker sits at the other end. When flipping the Crystal over, we have the magnet for attaching to the clip on your visor, and a USB port for charging. This was probably one of my biggest complaints, when using the SuperTooth HD, I could use the device while charging, but having the port on the flat back side makes it impossible to use while attached to your visor. I guess you can place it somewhere else in your car, but I think having it on the side would of made more sense to me.
Performance was actually really impressive, especially considering the price point. We obviously don’t have as many features with the Crystal as we did with the HD ($129), but for $69, I really think the Crystal is a contender in the in-car speakerphone devices. The Crystal set up is a breeze. You power it on, and it automatically goes into pair mode. After entering your 4pin code, you can talk without the use of your hands until your blue in the face. The multi-functional button works very well with Siri and created a smooth experience from start to finish to make a call. And when leaving the range of the device, and coming back to it, it will automatically connect giving you even more hands-free options.
The noise-cancellation worked extremely well for the callers on the other end. While driving the busy and noisy I-5 here in Portland, my wife had not one issue hearing me. She actually couldn’t barely tell I wasn’t using the phone directly. I have used a few bluetooth devices in my day, and I feel this one created the best experience for the people I was talking to – even with the windows down. For my end, when I had the windows down, I couldn’t really hear a thing, but with the windows up I actually heard everything crystal clear. I didn’t have to yell at my wife on the other end, and she didn’t have to yell at me, but this created some hot drives cuz I had to have the window up.
Another slick feature for those of you rocking the iPhone 4/4S, you will be given an indicator on the battery life of the device. This works with many devices out right now, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. And speaking of the battery life, another one knocked out of the park from SuperTooth. Their website boasts 20 hours talk time and 1,000 hours standby and I’ll have to say, even though I didn’t sit around for 1k hours waiting for it to die, I was able to breeze by the 20 hours of talk time of the past couple of weeks.
The Crystal also supports A2DP audio streaming which can be used to stream music from your device. Again, the audio level worked very well when my windows were up, but down struggled to offer a satisfiable sound. Now, don’t expect it to be an alternative to your in-car stereo, as the music will come out very flat and dull, so I don’t recommend using this for music unless your car has no stereo. The Crystal works very well with your GPS turn-by-turn directions. I found the navigation apps on my phone that supported it showed no issues when pairing with the SuperTooth Crystal.
The Crystal comes with the magnetic clip for your visor, a USB cable for charging and USB car charger (which doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense since you can use and charge at the same time).
The SuperTooth Crystal can really go head-to-head with any other device in this price range and crush it. With such a wide range colors and such a sleek design, there is no reason this shouldn’t be attached to the visor in your car. If you are looking to add a hands-free option to your car but don’t really want to break the bank on some cluster-mess, feature drenched, expensive Bluetooth device, the SuperTooth Crystal should be your choice. You might not have the ability to load your contacts to the Crystal, but for those of you with an iPhone 4S and Siri, this little guy will work blow any top-shelf device out of the water, especially when iOS 6 comes out and we have some more features with Siri.
Check out SuperTooth’s website for a look into all the great looking Bluetooth devices they have to offer!
Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 3/5
Thanks to SuperTooth and Max Borge’s for the review unit