The Jabra Cruiser packs noise-canceling, Bluetooth, and FM transmission technology into a slim and stylish package. On paper, it matches our current Editors' Choice, the Motorola Motorokr T505 almost feature for feature. But how does its performance stack up?
The Jabra Cruiser is a sleek and attractive package. Its top side is finished in glossy black plastic with a slight metallic flaking surrounded by a chrome accent ring and another glossy black section.
The chrome ring integrates buttons for skip forward and back and play/pause, which are used with the A2DP audio streaming feature. The outer black section is actually a large button for call answer and end, which also integrates LED indicators for battery state, call status, Bluetooth status, and FM status.
Along the device's leading edge are two tiny pinhole microphones that work together with the DSP system to reduce background noise; near the rear of the device is an opening for the integrated speaker. Along the left and right sides are buttons to activate FM transmission, a power switch, a volume rocker, and a covered Micro-USB port for charging.
On a full charge, the Jabra Cruiser claims 14 hours of talk time or up to 13 days of standby.
The Cruiser mounts on the bottom of your vehicle's sun visor with a wire clip that seems, at first, to be rather flimsy, but in practice does a great job of holding the speakerphone in place. Although it doesn't seem as robust as the solid metal clip of the Motorola T505, it does allow for a sleeker appearance and an overall lighter package.
The Cruiser pairs with a Bluetooth-enabled phone with a four-digit PIN. A Multiuse feature allows the Cruiser to be connected to two devices at the same time, however, only one device at a time can be actively engaged in calling.
Once paired, the Cruiser allows people to make calls and stream music over A2DP/AVRCP audio streaming. If you need even more volume than the integrated speaker can offer, then you can use the built-in FM transmitter to select an FM-band frequency on which to broadcast calls and music. Then use your car's radio to tune to the same frequency to hear the audio through your vehicles speakers. Be aware that FM transmission isn't a secure protocol, and anyone within range of the Cruiser will be able to tune in and listen as well.
Pairing instructions and, if available, caller ID information are spoken aloud by the Jabra Cruiser's voice announcements system. Unfortunately, it appears the voice announcement system isn't a true text-to-speech system, so it can't read callers' names aloud like the Parrot Minikit Slim can. Instead, it just reads the phone number.
The Cruiser also works with your phone's voice command function, if available, for easy hands-free dialing. However, it doesn't import and index your contacts locally, so if your phone doesn't support voice dialing, then you'll have to manually initiate calls.
Pairing the Cruiser is a simple and painless affair thanks to the voice prompts, which tell users what needs to be done, and the status icons. Once paired, operation is also relatively simple, because of the Cruiser's limited feature set.
Using a T-Mobile Dash, we were able to access the voice command system by pressing the call button. Our inputs were clearly understood by the system, thanks to the Cruiser's clear microphones, which also helped the Cruiser's call quality. The DSP noise reduction system did a good job of reducing droning background sounds such as road, engine, and wind noise, but louder sounds and people speaking in the background could still be heard. Incoming voices were clear, if not a bit tinny, over the Cruiser's integrated microphone. Overall, we were satisfied with the Cruiser's call quality for incoming and outgoing voices.
Streaming music through the Cruiser is a slightly different matter. Although you can hear the music through the Jabra's small speaker, the complete lack of bass response makes the listening experience a substandard one. Here it's best to take advantage of the Cruiser's FM transmission feature and use your car's speakers. The overall audio quality will still suffer because of the FM analog conversion and static may be an issue in areas with crowded airwaves, but at least the bottom end of the sound will audible on your vehicle's larger speakers.
Overall, the Jabra Cruiser is a competent and easy-to-use Bluetooth speakerphone. With both calls and stereo audio streaming, the Cruiser would be easily recommendable. The integrated speaker isn't really good enough to handle music playback on its own, but at least the option is there. Plus, there's the addition of FM transmission, which gives people the option of using their vehicle's speakers for even better audio where clear airwaves will allow.