Scosche SolChat solar-powered Bluetooth speakerphone review: Scosche SolChat solar-powered Bluetooth speakerphone

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Scosche SolChat is a Bluetooth car speakerphone that has a built-in solar panel to continuously charge the internal lithium ion battery; clips onto a visor or can be mounted on the windshield with included suction-cup mount; car/USB charger included for charging when sunlight isn't available; voice-announce caller ID; voice dialing; speakerphone is loud.

The Bad Solar charging is slow and only adds about 1 hour of talk time; callers reported hearing slight echo.

The Bottom Line The Scosche SolChat solar-powered Bluetooth car speakerphone has a nice feature set, decent performance, and offers a convenient way to go hands-free--and cord-free--in your vehicle.

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The more gadgets we bring into our cars, the more cables end up strung down to 12-volt power points. Scosche's SolChat eliminates one of those cables by getting its power from the sun. The SolChat is a Bluetooth car speakerphone that lays claim to the "green" label by being solar powered. It's also one of the better applications of alternative energy in a consumer device that we've seen to date.

When you first get the SolChat out of the box, you'll want to charge it using the traditional, corded route (a USB charging cable and car adapter also ship with the device). We initially charged the speakerphone via a USB port on a computer and it took about 3 hours to fully charge. According to Scosche, with a full battery you should get up to 12 hours of talk time and up to 450 hours of standby time. But if you leave your car out in the sun--and have the SolChat affixed to a visor or the windshield--the little solar panel on the device's backside collects sunlight to continuously charge the unit's internal lithium ion battery. A windshield suction-cup mount and sun visor clip are included.

What's nice about this setup is that as long as the sun is shining, you'll be able to just leave the SolChat attached to your windshield (or visor) and not have to worry about having any cables running to the cigarette lighter in your dashboard panel. And at 3.5 inches by 2 inches by 0.5 inch, it remains pretty unobtrusive; it's not much bigger than the registration sticker you affix to the inside of your windshield.

The SolChat has some built-in voice features, including "voice announce," which is the equivalent voice caller ID. However, to use this feature and have the SolChat announce a caller by name, you have to transfer your contacts (via Bluetooth) from your cell phone to the SolChat. Note: Not all cell phones offer Bluetooth transfer of contacts.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Scosche SolChat solar-powered Bluetooth speakerphone

Part Number: CBHSOL
Low Price: $20.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • CE Product Type Bluetooth hands-free speakerphone