By Mike Riley on Thu, 06/23/2011
SuperTooth is making quite a name for themselves in the Bluetooth audio arena. Their standalone SuperTooth DISCO speaker was well received. Their SuperTooth HD audio product is designed for use in the automobile and features hands-free phone operation and audio playback. How does this unit compare to other in-car Bluetooth visor-mounted speakerphone extensions? Read on to find out.
The SuperTooth HD features some very attractive audio reproduction capabilities. Hands-free conversations are crystal clear, as is music and sound playback (such as audio cues from running applications) from the phone. This is remarkable considering the size of the SuperTooth HD. The unit achieves this via two high quality speakers that can be cranked up using the manual volume dial, thanks to the built-in 5.4 watt amplifier. In addition to the two small speakers that pack a big sound, it also includes dual microphones to handle anti-echo and background noise cancellation. Even with external wind and construction noise, the microphones performed admirably.
One of the more cutting edge capabilities of the SuperTooth HD is its ability of understanding a limited set of specific voice commands to place calls on command, similar to the voice recognition feature found in the latest Android phones. In addition, each SuperTooth HD has a unique code on a label affixed to its back that offers a free six month service offered by Dial2Do that delivers speech to text transmission of emails (up to 30 seconds long for the Pro plan), Facebook and Twitter posts and SMS messages. Dial2Do can also read emails via text-to-speech of supported email providers such as AOL, Gmail, Yahoo Mail and others. The service costs $3.99/month after the six month trial expires, and because it dials an outbound number on your phone to communicate with the Dial2Do service, phone usage rates also apply. A Pro version can be purchased for an extra $2/month that offers integration to other popular web services like Evernote, Remember The Milk, Tumblr as well as weather forecasts, PingFM, calendar (only Google and 30 Boxes calendars are currently supported) and reminder events.
While the voice commands cover most aspects of phone conversation and messaging operations, the one area that it currently lacks is music playback control. This is surprising considering the high quality audio reproduction and the natural extension the commands deliver for essential hands-free operation. The firmware inside the SuperTooth HD is upgradeable, so hopefully this ability will incorporated in a future revision.
The SuperTooth HD mounts magnetically to an included visor clip, making it easy to attach and remove the unit. The rechargeable battery delivers more than 15 hours talk time and promises up to one thousand hours of standby time (the device automatically powers down when out of range and powers back up when your paired phone is back in range). Recharging the unit to full charge via the included micro-USB cable and in-car charger took an average amount compared to other rechargeable bluetooth speakers of this size. Another nice feature is its support for two phones, allowing two different drivers/phones to pair their phones with the device and not have to deal with the hassles of "repairing" the sync with the other phone each time.
Compared to other car-oriented Bluetooth phone speakers, the SuperTooth HD is adequate in the features department and stellar in the audio category. The Dial2Go service is a nice-to-have option, though I'm not sure how many SuperTooth customers will continue to pay the monthly privilege to use the service once the trial period expires. Fortunately, the basic functionality of the hardware works just as well without this added service enhancement. I do hope SuperTooth heeds my request to voice control music player functionality via a future firmware update, since its omission prevents customers from experiencing an entirely phone hands-free driving experience. Yet even without this music playback navigation ability, the SuperTooth HD ranks highly in my assessment and one I can recommend to anyone looking for a top automative speakerphone device.
Product: SuperTooth HD
Price: $129.00 US
Rating: 4/5 stars