Hands on with the Jabra FREEWAY and Jabra Stone 2
Jabra held an informal working lunch with the media today at the Grand Hyatt Singapore hotel, and VR-Zone was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to the event. In addition to talking about their plans for expansion in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region, the company unveiled two products aimed at taking media connectivity to the next level: the Jabra FREEWAY Bluetooth in-car speaker system and the Jabra Stone 2. And the good news: these toys have been confirmed for local availability.
Jabra FREEWAY in-car Bluetooth speaker
Are you tired of having to fiddle with a wireless earpiece or headset when taking a phone call while driving? Well, if your answer to the question above happens to be a resounding 'Yes', Jabra's upcoming product will probably be of much interest to you. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you Jabra's premium in-car Bluetooth speaker, the FREEWAY.
The first thing that came to mind when we got a chance to get all touchy-feely with the FREEWAY was that the speakers were small enough to be mounted onto a car windscreen or visor without causing much of a distraction. For those who are curious about its exact dimensions, the FREEWAY measures a mere 99 x 120 x 19mm (L x W x H), which is only slightly larger than the fully outstretched palm of an adult.
According to Jabra, the FREEWAY is capable of delivering audio content at high fidelities, and this is possible due to the presence of two, 3W mid-range speakers and a sub-woofer built into the unit. In addition, the FREEWAY also comes with various audio-related enhancements such as noise reduction and virtual surround, both of which combine to provide a rather decent experience. This makes it suitable for use as both an in-car speakerphone and a portable Bluetooth 2.1 speaker system for listening to music while on the move.
Jabra has also confirmed that the FREEWAY features built-in support for HD voice transmitted over wideband frequencies. And with Starhub and Singtel reportedly preparing for wideband, this feature will allow users to enjoy almost life-like speech quality over the network.
Unlike some of the company's earlier devices, the Jabra FREEWAY in-car Bluetooth speakers do not make use of touch sensors for the activation of various features. Instead, the FREEWAY is operated entirely by buttons, which means that users will have to physically push on the various labels located on the FREEWAY. Don't worry though, you will know that you are doing it correctly as long as you hear a satisfying 'click' sound.
The FREEWAY also comes with a simple metal clip affixed to the rear of the unit and is not removable by any typical end-user means. According to Jabra, the clip is designed to simplify the task of clamping the FREEWAY to a car's sunshade.
For those who are concerned about how a user is supposed to operate the FREEWAY while driving, fret not This is because the FREEWAY supports voice controls, so all users have to do is to speak various commands such as 'PAIR' or 'REDIAL' and the FREEWAY will proceed with its task, thus allowing for near-complete handsfree operation.
Last but definitely not least, the simplicity and elegance that is characteristic of Jabra-branded devices are all too apparent on the FREEWAY as well. Considering that its sides feature nothing more than a microUSB port for charging purposes and the obligatory power switch, you can put that 3.5mm stereo cable back into the drawer where it came from.
Pricing and availability
Jabra has confirmed that the FREEWAY in-car Bluetooth speakers will be reaching the shores of sunny Singapore by May this year, and is expected to retail at approximately S$200.