The Plantronics K100 in-car speakerphone does very well in terms of ease of setup, the audio loudness and clarity on offer and the simplicity of operation. If you do have to speak on the phone while driving, this is the gadget to buy, and keep both hands on the wheel at the same time. Itï¿½s not very inexpensive to buy, but then again, how do you put a price on road safety?
While it is not a great idea to speak on the phone while driving, but if you have to, then it is always better that you have the necessary gadgets at your disposal, which make this activity less dangerous. Bluetooth headsets have gone a long way towards ensuring this. But then again, not everyone is comfortable using a Bluetooth headset, simply because most of them are just badly designed.
Look and Feel: It’s a speaker!
What Plantronics has on offer here is something which does the same task, but in a completely different form factor. Instead of having to shove this into your ear, you can essentially place this anywhere in the car, and be able to communicate with the person.
The K100 is dressed in black matte finished plastic, with a bit of chrome on the buttons. The top part of the front panel has the volume control and radio frequency tuner dial, with the call connect, disconnect and power on/off button in the middle. To the left of the dial is the FM mode button, in case you need to connect this to the car’s audio system via an FM frequency. The right side of the dial has the call mute button. Below this plethora of buttons, albeit very cleanly laid out, is the very powerful speaker. Above all the buttons is the LED indicator, which notifies about the pairing mode, in call mode etc. The rear panel has the clip, for attaching this device somewhere in the car, like on the visor.
Features: Packs in a plethora of goodies
The K100 is essentially a speaker meant to make phone conversations easier and safer while driving. However, there are two ways the speaker can handle this. Either use the built-in speaker in the K100 to talk. Or, switch to the radio mode by clicking the FM button and tuning in to an empty FM Radio frequency. Once you do this, you can hear the audio from the speakers in the car, which means an even louder and clearer audio. Particularly useful if multiple people in the same car want to be a part of a conversation.
Switch on the device, or switch it off, and the lady on the speaker actually informs you of the action. Pairing the K100 with a Bluetooth capable phone is a breeze. Once done, you need to keep both devices within range of each other to be able to work successfully. To pair, you need to first switch on the device, and then keep the power on/off button pressed for about 5 seconds. This brings it to the pairing mode, where your phone will detect the K100. The audio quality offered by the K100 is a mixed bag, and depends on the volume level. Up to about 60% volume level, the clarity is extremely good. However, turn up the volume anymore and the built-in speaker just gives up. Allow it to transmit audio via the car’s audio system speakers and this problem goes away.
What you can also do is use the K100 as a bridge between your phone and the car’s audio system to stream tunes on an FM frequency. This is particularly useful, since most car audio systems do not have Bluetooth capabilities.
The battery life of the K100 will not be more than 5 hours of calling time at a medium- medium high volume, and will be continue to be impacted considerably by the volume of the audio. What this speaker misses out on is an integrated number pad for completely ‘phone handling free operation’.
Read on to know about our take on the Plantronics K100, the specifications of the device and the price...
Our Take: Can’t put a price in road safety
For a price of Rs 4,699 in the market, the K100 Bluetooth speaker doesn’t come across as inexpensive. However, this one is a lot more useful than a bland Bluetooth headset. If you do speak a lot on the phone while driving, we suggest you take a look at this one.
Handsfree car kit
Call connect/disconnect keys
Audio mute key
Volume control key
Contact: Plantronics India
Price: Rs 4,699