This year I decided to get a gift for the whole family. Something that would be useful, make our lives easier, and that we could all use in one way or another. Since riding in the car is one thing our entire family does, I thought, why not try to make it safer? We all know we shouldn’t text or drive, and many believe we should not talk on the phone and drive either. It just keeps the road safer. But sometimes you still need to make that phone call, or answer one you’ve been waiting for all day. Instead of giving up all phone calls in the car, I got the Hammacher Schlemmer Steering Wheel Bluetooth Speakerphone to allow hands-free calling, so both hands can be on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Beyond just the desire to keep my family safe, our state (Illinois) has passed legislation so that as of January 1st, we will no longer be allowed to use mobile devices unless they are hands-free and calls can be answered or ended in a maximum of two button presses. I don’t want to just give up the ability to use the phone, or I’ll NEVER get those call backs from the kids’ doctor, for example. After looking around for the perfect device, I came across the Hammacher Schlemmer speaker. Instead of clipping to the visor, which makes you look away from the road, this speakerphone attaches to the inside of the steering wheel. That puts it right where your hands are, so you have minimal distraction when needing to answer a call.
Using the device is a breeze. After turning the power on, follow the included instructions to pair it with your phone. After that, any time you turn the speakerphone on and your phone is nearby, the two will connect automatically. The Bluetooth speaker has buttons for volume, answer/end, and next/previous for music controls. It has loud speakers that are easy to hear even with highway road noise, and noise cancellation to ensure you are heard clearly on the other end. The battery is rechargeable and provides up to six hours of talk time and over five days of standby. The screen allows you to change options in between trips, and shows caller ID so you know who’s calling without looking at your phone. We both have iPhones, so did not test it on an Android device, but it was able to activate Siri and take commands, start, answer, and end phone calls, and dictate text message replies by voice. Since we have one car, we just quickly turn bluetooth off on our phones when we are done. Whoever gets in the car to drive simply turns on the device, then turns on bluetooth on the phone, and connects. This prevents it from trying to connect to my phone if I’m in the passenger seat, for example. This is true for most Bluetooth devices, save for some higher end models that connect multiple phones at once.
Testing the steering wheel speaker during actual use proved the call quality was as clear as advertised on both ends of the conversation, and was plenty loud enough to make sure I don’t miss a call when the music is turned up, like I sometimes do when my phone doesn’t ring loud enough. I am very happy with the quality of the Hammacher Schlemmer Steering Wheel Bluetooth Speakerphone, and will be very happy to be following the law while still using my device in a safe manner.
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2013 Holiday Gift Guide
Hammacher Schlemmer was chosen to be included in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide! Are you looking for that perfect gift? Check out the gifts on our list and you might find just what you were looking for!
Family Centsability was not monetarily compensated for this post. A product sample was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.