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BlueAnt has quietly made a name for itself as a maker of quality Bluetooth products, especially ones with voice control. The BlueAnt V1 was the first headset with a voice control interface, and the BlueAnt Q1 carried over that feature. One of its most popular products, the Supertooth 3 speakerphone, also has advanced voice recognition software that lets you handle calls with just your voice. Now BlueAnt has released the BlueAnt S1, which is a slightly lower-end version of the Supertooth 3--it doesn't have the ability to read out caller ID--but BlueAnt has wisely added multipoint technology plus stereo A2DP compatibility on top of the already excellent voice command features. Perhaps the best part of it is that it's quite affordable at only $79 at retail.
The BlueAnt S1 has a very different design compared with the Supertooth series of speakerphones. It's a lot curvier and more compact, measuring 4.7 inches long by 2.4 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick. On the front of it are a round speaker on the left and the BlueAnt logo on the right. Between the two is a tiny indicator light, and the microphone is on the upper right corner. On the back of the S1 is a slot for the clip, which you can then attach to your car's visor. Of course, when mounting the S1 to your visor, clip it so that the microphone and buttons are facing toward you.
All of the S1's controls are located on top, in the form of protruding buttons. The green or leftmost button is the multifunction button, and is used for toggling the S1's power, pairing, answering calls, voice dialing, redialing, and transferring audio. The red or rightmost button ends and rejects calls, and the volume rocker is in between the two. We found the volume rocker rather stiff to push, but the other two buttons have a nice give when pressed.
We paired the BlueAnt S1 with the Apple iPhone 3G and the LG LX370. Unlike the Supertooth 3, the pairing process isn't voice-guided. But that's OK, as it's not difficult; it automatically goes into pairing mode when you first power it on. To go into pairing mode manually, just hold down the green button when its power is off until the light indicator glows red and blue.
The S1 doesn't have the text-to-speech feature of the Supertooth 3, so it won't read out incoming caller ID. However, instead of that, you get multipoint technology that lets you connect up to two different phones at the same time. The S1 will be smart enough to receive the incoming call of whichever phone that rings first. The first phone to be used on the S1 will be designated as the primary phone, though you can swap the primary and secondary phones by pressing the red button for 5 seconds. All calls made with the S1 will be done via the primary phone. We tried this out with both the iPhone 3G and the LG LX370, and it worked beautifully.
Another nice touch to the BlueAnt S1 is the addition of A2DP stereo Bluetooth compatibility. This way we could stream the music on our phones to the S1, which was especially handy with our iPhone 3G with the latest OS 3.0 firmware that added stereo Bluetooth support. The sound quality is a bit tame and probably won't be as good as your car's stereo speakers, but it's a decent option if your car doesn't have an iPod or music player adapter.
Like the Supertooth 3, you can use your voice to answer calls. Simply say "Answer," "OK," "Accept," or "Accept Call" to answer an incoming call. You can only do so if you've turned the voice answer feature on--you enable this by holding down the Volume increase button for 5 seconds. To disable it, hold down the Volume decrease button for 5 seconds. When the voice answer feature is enabled, you'll hear an additional beep whenever there's an incoming call. The BlueAnt S1 will also work with the voice dialing feature on your phone if your phone supports it. But do note that you have to press the red end/reject key to end calls, even with the voice feature enabled.
Other features of the BlueAnt S1 include the ability to pair up to eight devices, last number redial, the ability to transfer calls from the phone to the speakerphone and vice versa, and automatic reconnection. The latter means that the S1, if powered on, will automatically search for your phone and reconnect when you bring the phone back in range.
As far as call quality goes, we were quite impressed overall. Callers could hear us over the din of engine noise with hardly any distortion. They even said our voice sounded smooth and natural, without the typical harshness of most speakerphones. On our end, we heard callers loud and clear as well.
The BlueAnt S1 has up to 15 hours talk time and a standby time of 33.3 days. It comes with an AC adapter wall charger.