When the sales guy kept telling me that the Bury car kits are “different” and “not just hands-free”, I was sceptical. The CV 9040 after all, is not much larger than the LG HFB-500 that I reviewed recently, so how different could it be?
Well dear reader, let me educate you for a moment on the differences between a car kit, and a hands-free device. A hands-free device, like the LG, is similar in most ways to the small, in-ear Bluetooth headsets. You can answer calls, and sometimes initiate your phone’s built-in voice commands (if they exist). That’s about it. There’s nothing explicitly wrong with this. In a lot of cases it may be all you need.
Compare this to a car kit. They too can receive calls, but they offer much more functionality. The CV9040 will download your contacts from your phone, meaning you can use the in-built voice commands to search and make calls, regardless of what your phone supports. It will also read your SMS messages out aloud from most phones (the notable exception being the iPhone). If you own a Blackberry, you might want to look at the CV9040’s big brother – the CC9060 will read email messages aloud. The voice commands were useful and responsive, with only number dialling being a problem. This was cured when I completed the short “calibration” exercise to train it to my own voice.
A true car kit will be fine tuned to operate in a vehicle, with advance noise cancelling and additional digital signal processing. While I found the LG hands-free perfectly adequate, callers did note that the calls through the CV9040 were clearer still. And this was without using the provided extension microphone.
If there is one downside, it’s the lack of solar charging on the CV9040. After using the LG, it just seems mad that devices on your car dashboard aren’t all solar powered. Still, the CV9040 has 60 hours of standby, and comes with a car charger, so not too much drama there. You can mount the CV9040 by attaching it to your dashboard, or your sun visor (you can buy additional cradles if you want to attach it in different cars). The device senses its orientation and adjusts the display accordingly.
If you have more than one phone, never fear: The CV9040 can pair with up to 10 different Bluetooth phones, and will attempt to reconnect based on priority. So if you and the wife jump in the car at the same time, it will connect with only one of your phones.
Overall, I’m highly impressed. It works as advertised. The price is more than twice that of a simple hands-free device, but it is value for money in my opinion. You can grab it for $430 from most communication specialists like Orb, Digital Mobile, and Leading Edge.
If you can’t afford to buy one, check back here on Wednesday for your chance to win one.