Editors' note: The Motorokr T501 is identical to our Editors' Choice Motorola Motorokr T505 in every way, but given a unique model number by Motorola because it is sold in a different market. For this reason, we're also awarding the Motorokr T501 our Editors' Choice.
At first glance, the Motorokr T501 seems like an average visor-mounted speakerphone. Its calls are clear. Its design is unobtrusive. However, when we looked a little deeper and really explored its features, we found that there is a much more complex and flexible device hiding under the T501's simple exterior. A2DP music streaming, a built-in battery, and a built-in FM transmitter make this device much more than just a speakerphone.
Clipped to our test vehicle's sunvisor, the T501 is a handsome-looking device. Smooth and devoid of any sharp angles, the T501 is made of matte-finished metallic plastic. In a world of high-gloss fingerprint magnets, the T501 looks high quality and subdued.
The bottom surface of the device is dominated by an omnidirectional speaker with a bright chrome Motorola logo set into the center. The front of the device is home to a call answer/end button, a play/pause button, and a multicolor LED that communicates the device's status. On either side of the T501 are volume up and down buttons, while the back is where you'll find the power and FM buttons as well as the USB charging port.
The T501 features a built-in rechargeable battery with up to 18 hours of talk time. We like this feature because it lets you ditch the power cord while driving, which means there's no cable dangling in your field of view. There is also an auto power feature that puts the device to sleep when unused and wakes it for a call. The long battery life coupled with the device's auto power meant that during a week of testing, we only had to charge the battery once. When the time to charge does come, the T501 gets its power over USB and comes with a micro USB car charger. So, if you want to charge the T501 outside of your car, you'll have to supply your own USB cable.
We'd like to see a caller ID display on the face of the T501. The device does speak aloud the number of the incoming call, so the lack of a display isn't too bad. However, if your phone offers a text-to-speech caller ID, you should probably use it instead, as recognizing a caller based on phone number alone can be a bit unwieldy. Calls are answered and ended with the call button, and the last number called can be redialed by holding the call button for 2 seconds.
Motorola didn't just stop at the basics for the T501. If, for example, the built-in speaker still isn't loud enough for you, you can use the FM transmitter function to route calls through your car stereo's speakers.
Another great feature the T501 offers is A2DP audio streaming, which lets you use the device as a monaural speaker or, in conjunction with the FM transmitter feature, stream music to your car stereo. This is a great feature for people who own a Bluetooth-enabled MP3 player or a phone with A2DP streaming. When in A2DP mode, the side buttons allow the user to skip back and forward between songs, and a play/pause button starts and stops the music. This allows you to leave the phone or MP3 player out of view and helps keep your eyes on the road.