Sunday 18 February 2018

Gadgets to keep drivers connected without breaking the law

Bose Bluetooth headset
Bose Bluetooth headset
Plantronics A170
Parrot Minikit
Philips InRange Bluetooth leash
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

FOR anyone paying attention, there's a crackdown on use of smartphones and mobile devices in cars. Fines of up to €1,000 are to be imposed from May 1, as the gardai get tough on in-car distractions.

So what are travelling business people to do? Here are four hands-free, Bluetooth gadgets that aim to keep you on the right side of the law.

Plantronics A170 Bluetooth set €60

If it's an old-fashioned Bluetooth headset you're after, Plantronics' A170 is probably as good as you'll get. Its double-microphone system is designed to concentrate interaction on your voice and cut out background distractions.

It also helpfully shuts itself off when it's outside Bluetooth range of your phone, saving battery life. This may not suit everyone, as Bluetooth headsets are now largely the preserve of taxi-drivers and 'contact centre associates'.

Philips InRange Bluetooth leash €50

Philips has come up with a gadget that will find a welcome home with anyone who has a problem leaving their phones in their car.

It's a small widget with a Bluetooth connection that alerts you any time one of your other Bluetooth gadgets (such as your phone or tablet) drifts out of range.

In other words, if you forget your phone when you're getting out of the car, the gadget will go off.

It's small enough to fit into most purses and some wallets. It depends, of course, on you keeping your phone's Bluetooth connection on, which saps your handset's battery life a little quicker.

Parrot Minikit €70

Remember the days when 'car kits' used to cost €300 and require a mechanic to install?

Thankfully, those days are long gone. In their place come portable Bluetooth gadgets such as Parrot. The basic principle is that you mount the device on the dashboard and connect it wirelessly to your phone: calls can be answered by voice so you never need to take your hands off the wheel. Don't look for amazing audio quality here, but it's very easy to set up and is widely available in tech superstores.

Bose Bluetooth headset €150

Bose's Bluetooth headset is an earpiece that delivers good sound but is ludicrously priced for what it does.

The positive bits are that it handles noise very well, cutting out a lot of irritating, unwanted interference such as gusts of wind. It's also quite comfortable thanks to a decent silicone earpiece.

But some features, such as the ability to stream music from a phone, are utterly superfluous – who wants to listen to songs in a single ear?

When it comes down to it, this does the same thing as a rival product which is a quarter of the price.

Sunday Indo Business

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