Spracht Aura Mobile BT headset
Bluetooth speakerphones are still a rarity in today's market and are not nearly as popular as Bluetooth headsets. But the Spracht Aura Mobile BT aims to redefine the space by combining multiple functions into one device. Not only does it connect to a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, it is also compatible with a Bluetooth-enabled computer for VoIP calls, and it can be connected to a cordless phone via an included cable. Thus, the Aura Mobile BT can function as a hands-free speakerphone while driving or as a portable speakerphone for conference calls on the road. It retails for $149.95, which seems a little costly to us.
The Aura Mobile BT looks like a flat, oval disc. Measuring 5.5x1x3.1 inches, it is not a compact device by any means, but it still slides easily into a purse or a briefcase. It comes in a dull gray and silver color scheme and has a large speaker grille in the middle with dual speakers underneath. Several controls surround the main speaker: a big power button just below, to the left are a Bluetooth and a Mute button, and the volume buttons are to the right. All the rubberized buttons are very easy to press. Above the speaker grille are three LED lights denoting Bluetooth (flashes blue and amber in pairing mode and flashes blue when paired), Status (flashes green when it's powered on and flashes rapidly when the microphone is muted), and Charge (glows amber when charging, flashes when battery is low, and turns off when it is fully charged) indicators.
We paired the Aura Mobile BT with both the T-Mobile Sidekick 3 and the NEC N908 easily and successfully. You can answer and end calls with the device, but you can't make calls from it; instead, you have to dial the number with your cell phone prior to using the speakerphone. As was expected, the dual-speaker system emitted superior sound, coming through loud and clear in a car as well as in an office conference room. Callers also reported great audio quality on their end thanks to the device's echo-cancellation and noise-reduction technology. Since most cell phones have built-in speakerphones anyway, we're not sure of the Aura Mobile BT's potential value here. That said, its noise-reduction technology does improve the quality of the conference call, so if you like to use your cell phone's speakerphone feature a lot, this could be worth the purchase.
The Aura Mobile BT comes with a visor clip for the car, cables to be used with your computer for VoIP calls, and a cable to be used with a cordless phone (which depends on if your cordless handset has a headset jack). There's also a corded, external mic which you can attach to the speakerphone for better outgoing sound and a car charger so that you can charge it in the car. We were disappointed that there is no USB charging option. The Aura Mobile BT has a rated talk time of 4 hours and a rated standby time of 24 hours.