Hot on the heels of their first loudspeaker, Blueant have designed and created a second incarnation of the wireless device designed to be used in vehicles with Bluetooth-enabled phones. Aptly titled the SuperTooth II, the new device is fairly similar to its predecessor, featuring a large speaker and microphone, and big buttons for easy access. Much of the technology, such as noise cancellation, is included with the SuperTooth II, but the main change is the design Ė itís much better and classier. I played with it for a week, and discovered that the SuperTooth II hasnít lost any of its predecessorís superb functionality.
This device isnít small, although it looks (and length-wise, is) smaller than the original SuperTooth. It measures 138 x 60 x 25 millimetres and weighs 133 grams. Again, the large, five centimetre speaker dominates the face of the SuperTooth II, delivering clear audio at any volume level desired. Volume can be adjusted via the knob nearby, and it can be set extremely loud. The microphone and dial buttons are mounted on a small arm that is folded out from the device, and this is how itís actually turned on.
Underneath the arm is the hang-up button, and nearby are two status lights, one for Bluetooth connectivity and one for battery levels. The Bluetooth light flashes when the device is on, and turns on solidly when it has an open connection with a phone. The battery light only turns on when the battery is running out, or when charging, and lights up in different colours depending on the situation.
The bottom of the phone houses a 2.5 millimetre jack for a wired headset (included in the package), and the charging socket is on the right-hand side of the device, right next to the speaker. The back has magnetic mounting points so the SuperTooth II can be mounted to a hook that slides onto a carís sun visor. Both the hook and the magnetic mounting points connect the SuperTooth II very firmly, although the hook does leave mounting marks on the sun visor due to its tightness.
If you have a phone that supports voice-activated dialling, then this is the easiest and most convenient way to make a call, especially while driving. You just push the dial button, say the name of the person you want to call, and it all happens automatically. If your phone doesnít support voice-activated dialling, then dialling numbers the normal way is possible, although not the safest thing to do while driving.
When a call is made or received, the SuperTooth II will open a connection to the phone automatically, and calls can be answered just by pressing the dial key on the SuperTooth II. The device is top-notch when it comes to audio quality. The caller can be heard clearly, and volume can be set as high as to be deafened.
Unfortunately, because the arm the microphone is mounted on folds out to an angle that doesnít point at you, you have to speak up for your caller to hear you. As long as you speak up you wonít have any problem, and I can report no problems if you call a SuperTooth II user. The sound is loud and clear on both ends of the call, and this time, there is no perceivable echo at all.
Connectivity and compatibility
As with any Bluetooth device, your phone must first be paired with the SuperTooth II before you can use them together. The SuperTooth II supports both handsfree and headset profiles, and the instruction manual offers model-specific guides for operating the SuperTooth II with a wide range of phones made by manufacturers such as Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Siemens, Sharp and O2.
Once the phone is paired with the SuperTooth II it will open an audio connection whenever you operate the phone, and you will hear the phoneís button presses through the device. The SuperTooth II will remember pairing information for two phones, meaning if a third phone is paired with the device it will forget the first phone and wonít connect to it unless it is paired again.
I tested the SuperTooth with a Motorola V620 as well as a Sharp GX20 connected through a Jabra A210, and had no problem using either device. Pairing went through seamlessly, as did voice calls.
Once in pairing mode, you need to put your headset into pairing mode as well, and leave the two together for about one minute. They should eventually pair together and both quit pairing mode. When I first attempted to pair the A210 and the SuperTooth II, in hands-free profile mode they would not pair at all, sitting endlessly in pairing mode. When I switched the SuperTooth II to headset pairing mode, both devices managed to pair after minutes of delay. The A210 and HS801 managed to pair in hands-free mode in less than a minute.
Blueant has improved the battery life of the SuperTooth II over the SuperTooth. It features 20 hours of talk time and 800 hours of standby time. Suffice it to say, during my usage of the device the battery never ran out, as my phone usage didnít see me using it for more than an hour of phone calls a day over the course of a week. When you do need to recharge the SuperTooth II, you can do it through a regular, power point-based AC adapter, through a cigarette lighter car charger, or you can run the device permanently using the car charger in trickle power mode. As the battery life is so good though, I think a recharge once a week is more than enough for the SuperTooth II to last between recharges.
Blueantís SuperTooth II improves on the original SuperTooth in a few areas while retaining everything that made the original such a successful device. Itís a loudspeaker that can be used in any situation, although works best as a car hands-free device. It produces loud, clear audio during phone calls and doesnít have the same echo problems that plagued its predecessor. It connects to any Bluetooth capable phone, and supports voice dialling with many of them. Its only disadvantage is the new, arm-based microphone that doesnít quite point in the direction of your mouth, meaning that you have to speak louder than usual to be heard by your caller. Other than that, the SuperTooth II is a viable and very practical alternative to having a dedicated hands-free kit installed in a car.