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What is a Bluetooth&Reg; Speakerphone?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2016
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A Bluetooth® speakerphone (also Bluetooth® car kit) is a hands-free cell phone device that can be more convenient that a wireless headset. The Bluetooth® speakerphone attaches to a car visor, pairing with your Bluetooth®-enabled cell phone to provide higher quality speakerphone ability and hassle-free use.

In many states within the U.S. it is now illegal to use a cell phone when driving unless it can be used with a hands-free device. Some people opt for a Bluetooth® headset; a tiny earphone and microphone worn on one ear. While many people find this efficient, others dislike wearing the device or are unhappy with the quality of sound. The nice thing about a Bluetooth® speakerphone is that is does not need to be worn and should provide superior audio quality.

The speakerphone attaches to the car visor with clips and is battery powered with the ability to be recharged by an adapter that fits into the cigarette lighter. The microphone might be condensed (built-in) or external, extending on a short arm from the speakerphone. The device features basic function buttons for answering calls, ending calls, redialing and adjusting speaker volume. Other buttons might also be present according to the model. A Bluetooth® speakerphone can support conference calling and voice-activated calling, providing the phone supports these features.

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The first use of a Bluetooth® speakerphone wirelessly pairs it with the cell phone using Bluetooth® technology. Bluetooth® utilizes radio frequency (RF) waves to link the devices together without need of wires or cables. Once the speakerphone has been paired with the cell phone, incoming calls can be answered by using the function buttons on the Bluetooth® speakerphone.

You’ll still need to use the keys on the cell phone to place a call, unless redialing. Some speakerphones archive the last several calls received, allowing one to scroll through them by using a dual-mode function button. A model like this might also have a small LED screen that displays the caller’s phone number. To save power, LED screens commonly only light for a few moments.

While most cell phones have a speakerphone built in, the quality is often poor, causing the caller to hear annoying echoes. Many Bluetooth® speakerphones are made with echo-canceling technology that improves sound quality, potentially making the call clearer than if using the cell phone itself. Look for models with full-duplex speakers, allowing both parties to talk over one another without cutting one party out. Speakerphones might also incorporate DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and other sound-enhancing technologies.

Bluetooth® speakerphones are also available for the office with an AC adapter. Both types of devices are available from many manufacturers with features and quality varying between models. Prices start at about $50 US Dollars (USD), and models with LED screens will be more expensive than models with basic functionality. In all cases the Bluetooth® speakerphone can be a nice gift to yourself or someone else.

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