Samsung HKT450 Portable Bluetooth Speakerphone review: Samsung HKT450 Portable Bluetooth Speakerphone
Bluetooth speakerphones are getting more popular these days, as more states start to implement hands-free driving laws. They're mostly made for in-car use, like the BlueAnt Supertooth 3 and the Motorola Motorokr T505. However, there are several Bluetooth speakerphones that can be used outside the car as well, such as the Samsung Portable Hands-free Speakerphone HKT450. The HKT450 not only works as a hands-free speakerphone, but it also has A2DP streaming so you can use it as a portable-stereo speaker, plus there's a "personal handset mode" that lets you use it like you would a cell phone. We weren't thrilled with the visor-clip attachment, but the number of features it has is quite impressive. The HKT450 has a street price of about $79.99.
The Samsung HKT450 may not be the thinnest Bluetooth speakerphone in the world, but it's certainly the skinniest we've ever seen. Measuring 5.23 inches long by 1.94 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick, the HKT450 is also very lightweight at only 2.85 ounces, so you could carry this around with ease.
The leftmost third of the speakerphone is dominated by an omnidirectional speaker grille, while the right side houses the multifunction call button, two LED indicators, and the volume controls. On top of the speakerphone are the 2.5mm line-out jack and the Mute/Mode button, while the charger jack is on the bottom. All controls are slightly elevated above the surface of the device, and have a nice "clicky" feel to them. The microphone is located on the top right. The HKT450 comes with a hard, plastic, visor-clip attachment (to be used on your car's visor), which we found rather flimsy--our unit's attachment broke with only the mildest of adjustments. Other accessories include a USB cable, an AC adapter, and a car charger.
We paired the Samsung HKT450 with the Verizon Wireless Blitz. The process is pretty standard; make sure the speakerphone is off, hold down the multifunction button for six seconds, and the blue and red LED indicators will flash alternately, indicating that it is in pairing mode. From there you can answer, end, and reject calls by pressing the multifunction button (holding it down for 3 seconds rejects the call). You can also voice dial (if your phone supports it), last number redial, mute calls (by pressing the Mute/Mode button), and transfer calls between the speakerphone and the handset.
The HKT450 is also A2DP and AVRCP compatible, meaning it can stream music in stereo wirelessly. The Mute/Mode button doubles as a Play/Pause button when your phone's music player is activated. Samsung warns that certain phones require you to press the Mute/Mode button to activate the A2DP functions, and indeed that was the case with the Verizon Wireless Blitz. Some phones might not require you to press the Mute/Mode button, while others might need you to tweak some settings on the phone itself. We dislike this sort of unpredictability, but understand there might be technical limitations.
Another feature of the HKT450 is a "privacy handset mode" (patent-pending at the time of this review) that lets you use the HKT450 like you would a cell phone. During an incoming call, simply press the Mute/Mode button and the volume and sensitivity of both the speaker and the microphone will adjust so that you can hold the HKT450 next to your ear like you would a regular cell phone. We're not entirely sure why you would want this--perhaps you want to talk privately, but your cell phone is stashed away in a bag and you don't want the hassle of digging it out. In any case, it's a nice option to have if you need it.
Call quality is certainly impressive, but with a few caveats. Callers said they could hear us loud and clear most of the time, but there were moments when loud engine noise could drown out our voice. On our end, we could hear them just fine for the most part, though voices sounded a bit tinny and hollow. Similarly, audio quality from the phone's music player came through with plenty of volume, but was lacking in bass. That said, most portable speakers are like that, so it's not a deal breaker by any means.
The Samsung Portable Hands-free Speakerphone HKT450 has a rated battery life of 8 hours talk time and 320 hours standby time.