Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Gadget of the week #9

This week's gadget of the week is another gadget that I got for my wife for xmass -- the Motorola IHF1000 Bluetooth Car Kit. I had, in the past, purchased several different headphone options for my wife including good quality bluetooth headsets and wired headsets. None of them worked for her, mostly because of the need to pull them out and get them setup in her car while she was driving. So I went looking for a permanent installation kit and found this kit from Motorola.

Obtaining the item before xmass was a bit of a problem as I ordered it from Amazon and the item that they shipped to me was a $9.95 Palm Treo skin, not the IHF1000. After explaining the problem to them, they re-ordered it for me, but low and behold the same Palm Treo skin arrived again at which point they told me I should get it from someone else as there was clearly something wrong in their distribution systems. So I found one online at for just $180, free shipping and in stock (and it was shipped the same day) -- Amazon's loss.

I was planning on doing the installation myself (I had installed a number of stereos and other automotive equipment in my younger days), but after looking at her car (a Ford Explorer) and at the installation kit, I gave up. I stopped by the local Best Buy and they agreed to install it for $80. Best $80 that I've spent in a long while. The installation went great (just about an hour) and looked way better than any installation I would have done.

The unit itself is great. Once you pair the phone (very easy through their voice prompts), the unit recognizes the phone's presence and announces that the phone is ready when you start the car -- no need to even pull the phone out of your pocket or purse. You can also program up to 20 voice programmed numbers (and more if your phone supports voice dialing). What amazed me about the voice programming was that I was able to program one of the numbers with my voice and my wife was able to use it with her voice -- pretty cool voice recognition going on there.

Call quality is very clear from both ends and my wife now usually answers the phone on the first ring and with much less distraction on her side.

Unlike many older systems that always waited for a voice command (and frequently picked up on noises in the car, such as the radio, instructing it to phone someone in the calling list while you quickly tried to abort), this system requires that you touch the command button (center button, easy to find/press) to start a sequence, eliminating the false commands problem.

We're so happy with the system that I plan to buy another one for my truck.

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