Motorola TZ700 in-car speakerphone review: Motorola TZ700 in-car speakerphone

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Typical Price: $129.95
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good MotoSpeak speech-to-text. Auto On-Off feature. Multipoint pairing.

The Bad Speaker is loud but produces hollow-sounding audio.

The Bottom Line Motorola's latest speakerphone offers a good range of features, but the quality of the speaker itself is disappointing.

7.5 Overall

With our long stretches of land between cities, and our national love of automotive transport, Australia is a country to be driven across. We also love our phones; there are more active mobile phone subscriptions in Australia than people, and that includes infants. These two notions together offer a third: if we love cars and phones so much, we should probably consider buying a car speakerphone.

Features-wise, the TZ700 has everything that you'd expect. It pairs with devices using Bluetooth 2.1, it feature multipoint connectivity supporting two phones simultaneously and it sports an FM transmitter for streaming audio through your car's stereo. It also includes one of the key features that we loved in last year's T325: an auto-off function that puts the speakerphone into standby whenever it hears your car door open and close, and resumes its activity when it hears the same thing again.

One noticeable difference between last year's T325 and the TZ700 is the absence of the Bluetooth Phone Book Access Profile in the newer model's list of specs. This profile allows devices to access a phone's address book database, a feature that speakerphones use to speak the names and numbers of incoming calls. Motorola has changed its approach this year, moving away from having the speech-to-text feature built into the speakerphone, and instead using your smartphone's ability to do the same thing. Users of Android smartphones (version 2.2+) and BlackBerrys can download the MotoSpeak app from their respective app stores and have the TZ700 use the phone's speech-to-text functionality to read out SMS messages and allow you to respond by voice, as well.

This is a great idea and a very handy feature to have, with one small, quirky exception. You can use voice commands to initiate and receive phone calls and to reply to text messages, but you can't use it to compose a new message. If your mum sends you a message asking what you'd like for dinner, you can respond with, "Hi Mum, I want pizza", but you can't activate voice commands and say, "Message Mum, I want pizza".

As per usual, using voice commands is pretty flaky anyway, though we had more success with MotoSpeak than we usually do with speech-to-text. The FM transmitter is also hit and miss, with audio crackling and distortion through our car speakers — when it worked at all.

The sound of calls and music through the unit's speakers was loud but unexceptional. We could always clearly hear what was said during calls and the people we called said the same from their end, but the quality of this sound was poor, with a sharp tinniness and hollowness to the sound of the voices and music we heard during our tests. Next to our experience with the excellent Jabra Freeway , the TZ700 sounded like a CB Radio.

Overall

The Motorola TZ700 worked as we would have liked it to, pairing easily with a number of different phone models and routing audio for calls and music with a minimum of fuss. We liked the Auto on-off feature and multipoint pairing, but we wished that its built-in speaker sounded better. The unit delivers loud, clear audio but it doesn't come close to the excellent, rich sound produced by the Jabra Freeway.

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