iVoice R1 Bluetooth Hands Free Speakerphone Car Kit review: iVoice R1 Bluetooth Hands Free Speakerphone Car Kit

  • 1
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The iVoice R1 features excellent call quality thanks to its dual-microphone noise cancellation. A second conference mode makes the R1 useful for impromptu conference calls.

The Bad Accessing many of the R1's functions requires complex and unintuitive key combinations. The unit doesn't import the user's phonebook and lacks any manual dialing options, relying on the paired phone's voice command system.

The Bottom Line There is much to like about the iVoice R1 Bluetooth hands-free kit's call quality, we just wish the interface was easier to use and understand.

6.3 Overall
  • Design 5.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 8.0

The iVoice R1 Bluetooth hands-free kit appears to be a fairly basic wireless speakerphone. In the box, you'll find 120V and 12V USB charging adapters, a rather short Micro-USB to USB cable, a visor clip, the user guide, and, of course, the R1 unit.

Design
The R1 unit measures 4 inches wide by 2.75 inches tall and is a hair larger than 0.25 inches deep with the visor clip removed, or about the size of a deck of cards, and is easily tucked into a shirt or pants pocket. The unit is available in black or red, but our tester featured a screen-printed carbon fiber pattern that made the unit look, well, cheap.

The top of the unit is home to a 1-inch speaker that actually gets quite loud. Along the bottom edge are four buttons for volume up, volume down, ending, and answering calls. The end call button is inset with a red power indicator LED and the answer button holds a blue Bluetooth status LED. Located at the R1's lower corners are two directional microphones that feature two reception modes that will be discussed later.

The system is designed for use in a car and the beefy removable visor clip does a good job of keeping the unit steady during spirited driving.

The R1's rechargeable battery gets its power from a Micro-USB port on the device's top edge. The battery is not user serviceable or removable. The R1's included Micro-USB to USB charging cable isn't long enough to allow the R1 to be used comfortably while connected to a power source, but the claimed 30 hour talk time and 800 hour standby time should be enough to get through a week of use.

Features
The R1 is a Bluetooth V2.1+EDR class device that pairs with a mobile phone using a four digit PIN. The R1 is able to remember pairings for up to eight handsets and can be paired with two phones simultaneously, with a feature called multipoint pairing. With two phones paired, the R1 can answer incoming calls from either handset, but can only handle one call at a time.

Once connected, the R1 has the capability to access most phones' voice dialing features, but lacks the capability to do so on its own. The R1 also doesn't import your contacts, assign voice tags, or offer any sort of manual dialing option beyond a simple last call redial function, putting the unit at a distinct usability disadvantage to devices like the Parrot Minikit Slim .

Unlike our current Editors' Choice headset, the Motorola Motorokr T505 , the R1 is a voice-only device and does not support A2DP stereo audio streaming. However, it does have an extra trick up its sleeve, a dual-mode microphone array.

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