|BlueAnt Commute Handsfree Car Kit CMT-USEN|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Phones | Handheld|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 20 November 2012|
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Handsfree Car Kit Test Results
Life with the BlueAnt Commute begins with pairing and connecting the device to a Bluetooth compatible mobile phone. All of my testing was conducted using the BlueAnt Commute paired and connected to a Samsung Nexus S smartphone with the BlueAnt Commute app installed. This particular phone paired to the BlueAnt Commute hands-free device without any security code required, although the default pairing code '0000' is rather easy to remember. The first time I powered-up Commute it walked me through language selection and pairing. After Commute talks you through the setup and pairing process, there are a few commands to know and memorize.
Commute arrives charged with a lithium-ion battery, which is good for an estimated 20-hours of talk time or up to 700-hours/29-days of standby time. If Commute is powered-on into 'handsfree trigger' mode, the phone is always prepared to receive a voice command. If set to the central power position known as 'battery saving mode', Commute will only listen for commands two-minutes after an action. This mode is ideal for most situations, but handsfree trigger mode offers enough power to maintain charge for weeks and make or receive up to 20 hours of calls.
Everything begins with the trigger phrase "BlueAnt speak to me". Once the BlueAnt Commute is triggered by the catchphrase, it will expect a follow-up command to execute a function. Once you can memorize the trigger phrase, the next easiest phrase to remember should be "What Can I Say?" so the handsfree device will read you a list of available options. Simple commands such as "Call back" and "Redial" are supported by all phones whenever another caller has contacted you or the number is stored in call history. The voice phrase "Phone commands" is priceless, as it transfers control over to your telephone. Other commands are more for utility purposes and are used far less frequently, such as "Am I connected?", "Check battery", "Pair me", and "Update phonebook".
On the Samsung Nexus S smartphone, which was introduced December 2010 and tested using both Google Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) and 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), there were only a few voice commands available. On this phone, after saying the trigger phrase "Phone commands" your options will include "Call John Doe" to dial a contact by name at their default telephone number, or "Dial John Doe Office" to communicate the desire to reach a named contact's secondary phone number. Unfortunately, there's no way to stop dialing if an incorrect number/contact is fetched, or quickly end a call without having to press the 'Command Button' touch symbol.
Older Android-based smartphones like the Nexus S will require the free BlueAnt Commute application to be installed for handsfree text messaging to work, and some will be limited to receiving messages as the phone may not accept dictation. Newer-model smartphones, such as Apple's iPhone with Siri or Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III that include Google Voice Search (formerly Voice Actions), will offer far more comprehensive voice commands and interaction than older models without them. These newer devices will offer full texting functionality, as well as potentially supporting email alerts or interaction with other programs.
Testing with the Apple iPhone 4S that launched October 2011, BlueAnt's Commute handsfree worked seamlessly with Seri to do far more than older phones without the voice-command assistant. After switching from Commute to Seri using the "Phone commands" trigger, I was able to schedule calendar events, complete web or phone searches, operate other apps such as GPS navigation, and send or receive messages. In theory, Google Voice Search is intended to offer the same features. Ultimately the BlueAnt Commute handsfree device will scale with a phone's own technology level, making it as feature rich as the host device it interacts with.
Performance was very similar with the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone. Once Bluetooth was enabled on the phone, I needed to make the phone visible to other devices by checking the option. The BlueAnt Commute initially showed as a numerical device, and not by the product name, but changed to "BlueAnt Commute" once paired. Like Siri, the Galaxy S III offered several interactive functions relayed through Commute.