Review: We Go Hands On With The Hands Free SuperTooth HD

  • September 23, 2011 2:40 am

With almost 10 states already banning cell phone use (30 states for novice drivers) and over 30 that have banned texting while driving, the Bluetooth hands free options of today are coming more and more necessary. But do you want to give up the frills of staying connected just to have a safe trip? Out of a 24 hour day I have my phone in my hand around 16 of those, and during the 5 I am sleeping, it is usually there as well. But since I live in Portland it is against the law for me to have said phone anywhere near my face let alone in my hands. I have never been a fan of Bluetooth ear pieces but could never find a car only device I actually liked. But after reading up on this $129 Bluetooth car kit I started to get excited about using something that didn’t have to burrow its way into my ear canal.

Do you think this slick little device can withstand the billion other Bluetooth options out there? Hop on in to find out…

 

Design

The design is pretty much what you’d expect from any Bluetooth car kit. However, one part actually stood out to me which I noticed as I unboxed it – the magnetic piece for mounting it in your vehicle. I have used many car kits that were one complete piece that had to slip on and off your visor. The SuperTooth HD still has the clasp for your visor, but utilizes two magnets on the unit itself to latch on to the clasp. Making installation and de-installation in a breeze. I know this is somewhat a norm among these car kits, but this is the first time I’ve used it and it makes a world of difference.

The rest of the unit looks pretty standard when comparing it to the rest of the Bluetooth car kits out today. The device features a slimmer body than I’ve seen which makes it pleasant to hang above your head. It isn’t wide or bulky, keeping the attractive element to your snazzy ride. Solid black with only a few buttons makes this guy nice to look at. The one main thing I didn’t like was the gigantic volume knob protruding from the top of it. As you can see, this could have easily sported something smaller or even a two button option over this turn style knob. It does double as a quick launch button, for those familiar with the iPhone Home button gestures, you’ll come to appreciate this. Other than that, the design is sleek and slim – something we love her at Gadgesteria. It makes it easier and more hands free than little buttons, but I just felt it was a tad on the large size.

Features

The features on the SuperTooth HD are really where it shines. Almost everyone around is sporting a smartphone, and the SuperTooth HD captures that need to stay connected at all times. If you’re like me, using the phone for actual talking is a thing of the past; we use it for texting, email, and the wide array of Social Networks. The SuperTooth HD not only brings these services to you – hands free – but makes it quite simple to accomplish.

With installation being: A. take out of box. B. Turn On. C. Use. The hardest part is setting up your contact list via the SuperTooth website to allow the integration to happen. With a simple website log in and device activation, you will be prompted to configure all of your settings. SuperTooth is nice enough to give the end user a 6 month free pass to these services, but any further usage will cost you a $3.99/month | $39.99/year for the basic service. The Pro service in gives you the Basic package but also converts all of your voice messages to text, calendaring, and 20 additional 3rd party services.

You’ll need to add your contacts to the website which will include a name, phone number and email address. You only need to add these contacts to utilize the texting and emailing features. The SuperTooth HD will use your local address book for any phone calls. But with the service to work you’ll need to re-add the people you’ll want to stay in touch with to the website’s address book. You can have up to 400 contacts in your address book. We went the hard to way and entered by hand, as we were only going to test this out with a few people, but you can add using services like Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Windows Live and Yahoo. For those with a BlackBerry or Android device, you can import straight from phone using one of the SuperTooth’s mobile apps. Sorry iPhone users, we are out of luck.

After configuring your email address, you’ll definitely want to add your Twitter account and FaceBook details for speech induced social networking. Using the SuperTooth HD you can not only send a Twitter update (converts speech to text as well as includes a link to the mp3 audio file) but you can also have your Twitter Feed read to you. I do not have a Facebook account, so testing this wasn’t an option, but you can post right to your Wall if you so desire. Upgrading to the Pro service will yield you the sweet options of updating your WordPress or Tumblr Blogs – which we found to be a nice feature worth the extra 2 bucks a month.

Performance

Using the SuperTooth HD is, as I’ve mentioned, extremely easy. Set up takes no time at all. The device comes with a USB cable and 12volt cigarette adapter for on the go charging. After plugging it in and giving it a full charge of 3 hours I was able to use the device for the entire week and only had to charge it a second time. SuperTooth boasts 20 hours talk time and a whopping 1,000 hours stand-by time. This little Lithium-Ion battery keeps on going. I was very impressed with the amount of time I was able to put into it without needing the charge. I didn’t turn the device off once during this past week.

Call quality is much better than I’m used to. The dual microphones create exceptional call quality. I only had to repeat myself to my wife twice, but those could probably be blamed on our new born (read: her not listening to me). Driving down I-5 during rush hour proved a worthy adversary to our SuperTooth HD, but we prevailed. The 2 speakers featuring 5-watt audio output and a 5.4-watt amplifier created a clear phone call. The SuperTooth HD will pair with your Bluetooth enabled mp3 device but we were not impressed with the sound quality. We understand that it isn’t meant as a replacement radio, but we feel the quality could have been better. But this really isn’t a place for that discussion this guy is meant for so many other things.

The rest is where the SuperTooth HD excels. Upon contacting the voice assistant – with a touch of the button on the volume knob) will grant you access to a wide area of voice activated commands. “Listen to Email” got me a robotic voice reading off the Sender, date received, subject and body of every email I had. The downfall is it is limited to only 1 email address. If you are like me, you’ll have multiple, so staying completely connected will be hard. But this service is amazing none the less. I was able to send an email to whichever contact I wanted that was in my SuperTooth address book. The receiving end is given an email which includes an audio file. The upgraded service will have this transcribed instead of the mp3.

“Twitter” granted me access to all of my follower’s eyes and ears. Unfortunately the transcriber must of mistaken me for a drunk rambler, as the it seems it thought I just said Twit and Twitter over and over again. Luckily the Tweet included a link to the audio file so in case someone knew I was sober. I was excited to try the “Listen to Twitter” command which would transcribe and read me my Twitter Feed. Unfortunately during my test week the “service was unavailable at this time.” I’d really be interested in having this feature work.

“Send a Text” gave me the option to txt anyone in my SuperTooth address book. This worked really well. Annunciation is the key for this to work, obviously. A few misinterpretations here and there are to be expected. But with the way auto-correct works nowadays, that is going to happen with fingers as well.

Conclusion

Should you drop $130 dollars on another Bluetooth device? The answer is yes, a big fat yes. I was extremely satisfied with the overall quality and just tickled silly with the abundance of features. To be hands free in a social world is a huge win in my book. If you’re the type of person that would only use a Bluetooth device for talking, I’d recommend going with a device not enriched with features or even an earpiece. But if like the thought having a robot read you your Tweets and emails as well as send texts with your mouth, SuperTooth HD is the device for you. Outstanding call clarity, easy set up and a slick design make this stand out from the rest. We’d really like to see an iPhone app added to the list of *completely* supported devices, but that wasn’t a huge let down. We suggest hopping over to SuperTooth.net and checking out what they have to offer.

Gadgetsteria Rating: 8.5/10



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Apple fanboy, alcoholic and video game player. I love all things 8-bit. I enjoy a good microbrew but love to drink the Pabst Blue Ribbon. I’ve been writing on blogs for a few years now, settling at Gadgetsteria.com in 2010.