Try wireless headset for your cell phone
All of us have observed scenarios like these:
» A driver veers blindly into your lane and you're forced to quickly move to avoid a collision.
» You see someone blithely running a red light.
The common denominator? The offending drivers had a cell phone plastered to their ear and were babbling away - totally unconscious of their driving.
The solution? Short of giving up mobile-phone use while driving, consider a wireless headset so at least both your hands are free.
I'm sure you've seen Bluetooth headsets in the ears of local residents that make them appear to be cyborgs from "Star Trek." I still find it amusing to see people walking down the street looking like they're talking to themselves. That said, these devices come in handy - especially in a car.
One of the cooler looking models on the market is the Jawbone - a sleek black device the size of tie clip, manufactured by a company called Aliph. The Jawbone has several built-in microphones and a tiny plastic protuberance which rests against your cheek that picks up the vibrations of your voice box. It's engineered specifically for noise suppression, and I tested it driving down Waialae Avenue, under the freeway near Kahala Mall. This is where sounds bounce off the overpass and seem to reverberat. In this environment I called a friend, and despite background noises of a jackhammer, he had no problem hearing me.
To set it up on a Palm Treo was easy. All I did was charge up the headset and then go to the "Bluetooth" icon on the phone, which after a minute or two detected it. I keep it in the car and remember to turn it on when I drive around.
The Jawbone was comfortable to wear, but call me old-fashioned - I'm too self-conscious to walk down the street with it on.
It's packaged in a very classy jewel-box-type case with fancy documentation and comes with three different ear-bud options and, soon, three color combinations (black, silver and "goldy lips"). Claimed talk time is six hours and standby is 120 hours.
The only thing I didn't like was that the on/off and volumecontrol buttons are embedded under Jawbone's black matted "skin" that covers the device and, at first, are hard to locate. It would be better to change the texture and perhaps the color to pinpoint the exact locations of the buttons.
Cost is $125 - pricier than the average wireless earphone, but you pay for the coolness and technology factors. (See www.jawbone.com).
A less expensive option is the Scala 700, manufactured by Cardo for $25. It's shaped like a tear drop, and is larger and more bulbous than the Jawbone.
Here the set-up was also easy. I tested it by speaking to a friend who was using one standing in a parking area off of Diamond Head where there was a moderate tradewind blowing and cars were blasting by. The Scala worked very well. It has a combination button/wheel affair to turn it on and off, and by rotating it you can control the volume. There's a second button to answer and disconnect. It's comfortable to the point where you forget you're wearing it, and gives you up to 10 hours of talk time.
What I didn't like is that you need to sync it with your phone at the beginning of a talk session. The Jawbone synced automatically. But all in all, it's a good value.
Both would work well to accompany you in your auto.