We have all been in this situation before: you’re driving, you remember you need to call someone or you get a call, and you start fumbling around, first to find your phone and then to find the keys to press to get the call done. For some of us, it doesn’t happen often; for others it’s not urgent and can wait until you pull aside; yet, for many, it’s a frequent scenario that the era of touchscreen phones hasn’t made the least bit easier.
I fell into this routine a few months ago, when I bought my pharmacy’s shop 50 minutes away from my house, with 20 minutes of these on a sinuous mountain road. I knew I had to get a bluetooth headset or car kit, and after much online searching, I stopped at the Clip and Talk Bluetooth Car Kit V3+ thanks to its features and multipoint support.
The Clip and Talk Bluetooth Car Kit V3+ is a small car kit unit with a piano black finish. The unit is divided esthetically in two parts: the first is the loudspeaker and the second holds the microphone and the three operating buttons. These buttons are the multifunctional call button, and volume up and down keys. The separation line holds the LED indicator that flashes red and/or blue according to the connection and battery states.
On the side of the unit is a fourth Mute button, while on the back you can fix a sun visor clip. The clip is removable, so you can use the Clip and Talk V3+ on a desk as a speakerphone or clip it to the visor in your car. There is also a removable rechargeable 650 mAh battery.
In terms of connectivity, the Clip and Talk V3+ uses Bluetooth V2.1+EDR, which is compatible with numerous phones (smartphones or not) and is easy to pair. The winning point is the multipoint technology that allows you to pair it to two devices simultaneously, and manage calls on both phones. It also features a full duplex 2 watt speaker as well as noise cancellation, in order to provide great audio output and input when in a call.
Thanks to its bluetooth support and the included 650 mAh battery, the Clip and Talk V3+ lasts for about 45 days of standby usage and 16 hours of phone calls. It comes with a USB to mini-USB cable to recharge it from a computer, or from the included car charger USB adapter.
One item in the box is invaluable: the user manual. It will explain to you in clear details the steps to every action: pairing and managing multiple devices, voice dialing, transferring calls to and from your phone, disconnecting paired devices, LED indicators, and more.
In Real Use
I have been using the Clip and Talk V3+ for over 4 months. The installation in my car was painless: simply slide the sun visor clip on the back of the unit and slide everything onto the sun visor.
Pairing with both my HTC Desire Z and Nokia N8 took a few seconds. Thanks to the included User Manual, I was able to pair both in multipoint mode, hence making it possible to take calls on both my work and personal phone while driving. You could use this for your and your spouse’s phone, for example, without having to re-pair every time one of you enters the car.
The call quality has been astonishingly good: volume is clear and loud enough to hear, you can control it easily with the dedicated keys, and I have yet to get one complaint from the call recipient telling me they’re not hearing me well. As a matter of fact, I asked several of them whether they could tell I was talking on a speakerphone and they said no, my voice was clear and close.
Another advantage I noticed over these months is the fact that the three control buttons are big and well separated, making it easy to control the unit without taking my eyes off the road while driving. Also, I have found the battery life astonishing. I have been using the Clip and Talk for four months, I drive an average of two hours per day, and I have yet to charge it again: yes, it has been going on and on, with just one charge.
The one downside I came across with the Clip and Talk V3+ has nothing to do with the unit, but with Android’s poor Voice Dialing feature. Answering a call is only a simple press of the Call button, but initiating one is a lot of pain. My HTC Desire Z is rooted and running CyanogenMod 7.0.2. There is a voice dialing application but it almost never gets my contact’s name right. I have installed Vlingo after reading Brendan’s review here and it works slightly better, but it is still far from the accurate voice dialing of my Nokia N8. On the other hand, Vlingo also supports sending text messages and launching drive navigation, which are awesome to have when you’re driving.
At £20 (roughly $30), it is almost impossible to fault the Clip And Talk Bluetooth Car Kit V3+. It is easy to use and comes with great features: clear and distinct voice input and output, amazing battery life, multipoint technology to connect two devices simultaneously, and most importantly a useful user manual. It also works with almost any bluetooth enabled mobile phone, making it a universally compatible accessory.