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First Look: Handsfree speaker and iPhone charger

updated 05:00 pm EST, Thu November 6, 2008

Handsfree iPhone speaker

In many places, it's now illegal to drive while holding and talking on a mobile phone. Since chatting while driving can be so convenient, you have two choices. First, you can pull over to the side of the road every time you want to chat with your iPhone. Since this essentially negates the advantages of driving while chatting, your only real option is to get a hands-free device for your phone. If you have an iPhone, consider the Car Windshield Mount with Handsfree and charger for iPhone 3G with USB charging Port from

This product is consists of two parts: a mounting arm and the speaker/microphone unit that plugs into a cigarette lighter. The triangular shaped speaker plugs into the cigarette lighter and contains a charger on/off switch, a volume control wheel, an audio output plug, a call/answer button, and a USB port, which allows you to charge other devices (such as an iPod) through a separate (not included) USB cable.

A cable connects this triangular speaker portion to the iPhone cradle itself, which attaches to the mounting arm that you can stick to your windshield or any other part of your car. The connecting cord is long enough to stretch across the front seat of most cars, so you shouldn't have a problem attaching the iPhone cradle comfortably in your car.

Flick the charger switch on and this device charges your iPhone while it's plugged in. If don't want to charge your iPhone, you can turn this charger switch off, which can preserve your car's battery if you're not driving.

Tap the Hands Free button and you can answer a call. The audio quality from the speakers is acceptable and the microphone buried in the iPhone cradle provides decent sound quality so you can speak to others without shouting. For improved audio quality, you can plug a headset into this device.

While this item makes answering calls hands-free, placing a call still requires manipulating the iPhone's touch screen, which is more a limitation of the iPhone rather than a fault of the product itself. To initiate calls while driving, you'll still be forced to pull over to the side of the road to dial a number until the iPhone gets voice-activated controls like other mobile phones offer.

For anyone who needs a hands-free device for the latest 3G iPhone, this $39.99 will help you answer calls and talk effortlessly while driving. Its inclusion of a USB port is a nice bonus for charging other portable devices and though its built-in microphone and speaker is decent, you'll probably want to use a headset to eliminate background noise so that you hear others clearly. There may be other hands-free devices for the iPhone, but you can't go wrong with this one.

by MacNN Staff



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