[Review] Jabra Freeway Is Unveiled

Oregon is among a handful of states that has implemented ‘hands-free’ laws, which means we cannot drive down the road while holding a phone up to our ear. Drivers in Oregon can however, use headsets (both Bluetooth and wired) or use speakerphone, which is cumbersome at best.

As we all know, Bluetooth headsets are great for those who enjoy using them, but not everyone falls into this camp. Others have Bluetooth audio systems built into higher-end cars that make it easy to interact with the phone in a hand-free manner. For the rest of us, Bluetooth speakerphones exist. These device clip on to the visor of your car and provide a nice option to talk on the phone while you’re cruising down the highway.

I like speakerphones for a few reasons. First off, I don’t like having a headset in my ear – they constantly feel as if they’re going to fall out. Secondly, they have small batteries and I have to worry about whether the headset is charged or not. Speakerphones, on the other hand have huge batteries. Although, some sound terrible – either you sound terrible to your callers or, as in my case, I cannot hear the calling party because my car has so much road noise.

The Jabra FREEWAY takes aim at this problem. This speakerphone, which is being released today on Amazon.com, has taken measures to stand out from the crowd. First off, this speaker phone has a whopping three speakers which provide ‘virtual surround’ sound and is supposedly HD Voice ready.

The new Jabra device has some smarts to it as well. It has a motion sensor that turns on the device when you enter your car (very convenient). Use multiple devices while your in the car?  Perhaps a mobile phone for work and one for personal reasons, you can pair 2 phones at a time with the FREEWAY, meaning you’re never out of touch. One other benefit is that the FREEWAY has an FM transmitter, so you can actually sync up the speakerphone to your FM station and feed audio that way, rather than using the FREEWAY’s onboard speakers.

The audio quality is rich on the FREEWAY – and pairing my iPod Touch showed this. I feed music via Bluetooth (because the FREEWAY features A2DP) and the quality was really good for a speakerphone. It needs a little bit more bass because at high volumes, the audio gets a bit piercing and actually disturbs your ears.

In my experience over the last week in my very noisy 97 Honda Civic, I found the FREEWAY to be absolutely superb. I hooked multiple devices up to the device including an HTC G2 Android Device, a Nokia N8 and an iPod Touch. In all cases, the FREEWAY sense my presence in the car and automatically turned on – the devices (2 at a time) would automatically pair up and be ready for use within seconds of me sitting in the car.

Also, callers to me where very audible – in fact, they were so loud I had to turn the FREEWAY down in all cases…which is the first time for any speakerphone I’ve ever used. When asked, callers told me they could tell I was in the car but they could hear my voice just fine. In no instance was I asked to repeat myself, even when I was cruising down the highway at 65 miles per hour.

The FREEWAY costs $129 at Amazon.com and even though that may be a bit steep, it’s worth every penny. For me, I drive 100 miles a day and I need to be in touch, so having a good device is worth the price. This Jabra speakerphone is loaded with features that make it worth the $129.