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Jabra’s new drive is a sleek little Bluetooth that has specs and a pricetag to rival some of its more expensive competition, but is it a complete car companion?

20110816044035a542c 200x120 Review: Jabras New Drive Hits The Road
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Driving Bliss: Jabra’s Drive Bluetooth

Jabra’s drive is well designed, fusing simplicity with a premium look and feel. Dominated by a sleek black stereo mesh, it strikes a refined contrast with the steel band’s finish. It’s not just pretty, with sturdy build quality that is void of taxing weight.

Focusing on being a Bluetooth for everyone, simplicity runs through its DNA. Its face has only three large buttons, their size a necessity when you’re preoccupied driving. The front speaker doubles up as an answer/hang up key, with up and down volume buttons up top, and the power switch on its side. Keeping it company is the generic micro USB port that is used for charging.

Pairing is handled easily, automatically entering the mode when the on switch is flicked for the first time. Alternating blue and red lights easily communicate this to users, letting them know it’s the phone’s cue.

Like any Bluetooth, it’s a simple matter of jumping into the phone’s menu, looking for connectivity and nominating the Jabra Drive. After entering the requested passcode, your phone will be paired, handling a total of eight phones. It will even handle two phones paired simultaneously, aiding passengers if they choose.

It snugly fits on your car’s sun visor, giving it a great audio vantage point. As your phone rings, simply press the speaker mesh which doubles as a large answer button. There’s plenty of Bluetooths that respond to vocal cues, but very few of them work well. Even though the Drive lacks voice activation, its button system is full proof, keeping in car Bluetooth simple and reliable. 

 

The single speaker is impressively loud, making it easy to communicate at speeds of up to 60km with the window down. Go any quicker than that though and you’ll struggle to hear over the wind interference. But as long as the window is down, call volume is loud and crisp.

However, when using the stereo Bluetooth option, which lets you stream music straight from your phone through the Bluetooth speaker, it begins to distort at almost full volume, showcasing the speaker’s limited range when under the strain of music audio.

Depending on what features your phone offers, most of your interactions can be handled easily through the Drive. Features like the Samsung Galaxy S2’s voice application, which lets you access messaging, calling, navigation and music, worked seamlessly. Activating it was as simple as holding down the call button, and then saying ‘Hi Galaxy.’

It will even communicate GPS prompts, provided your GPS is equipped with Bluetooth. It’s great that it offers the option, but futile, as many GPS units have speakers capable enough of rivalling the Drive’s.

The battery life was exceptional without needing a charge throughout the seven day test. Jabra say it’s capable of 20 hours talk time and 30 days standby time, making it a very reliable car companion. The Drive tells you when the battery is running low, using voice guidance to warn you when it’s time for a charge.

When charging is due it will have to be via a USB port or car charger, as it doesn’t come with mains charger. Failing to provide at the least an adaptor (similar to the iPhone’s mains + USB combo system) means charging will take a long 2 and a half hours.

Even with its limited music range, the Drive is an incredibly well built and thought out product. It is purpose built, designed to be a car speakerphone first.

But above all, what elevates this device is the exceptional value for money it offers. Retailing at $59.95, it’s noticeably cheaper than many of its rivals, without compromising quality in the pursuit. Thought out, well-built and reliable, it is a complete car accessory.

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