The Motorola Roadster 2 has the most important characteristics of a Bluetooth car kit – speakerphone performance and comprehensive hands-free control. This device comes with HD Voice and effective dual-mic noise reduction, which create clear calls, though its call quality doesn’t match that of the best visor-style Bluetooth car kit in our review. The Roadster 2 is one of the few visor kits with an FM transmitter, so you can send music from your phone to your car stereo. The kit also has a motion detector and turns on automatically when you enter your car.
We took the Bluetooth car kits in our review on a test drive to evaluate their call quality. The Roadster’s call quality was good but not great. The 2-watt speaker struggled to cut through the loud ambience of driving on the freeway. However, the echo-cancellation and noise-cancellation features performed well enough to earn high marks on the receiver’s side of the call. The Roadster 2 features an HD Voice microphone, which has an expanded frequency response to capture more of the natural tones in your voice.
This is one of the few visor-style Bluetooth car kits that features an FM transmitter. When activated, audio transmits through an FM signal that your car stereo can pick up. This isn’t ideal for phone calls, despite the fact it allows you to turn up the volume of your caller’s voice. It’s best used for streaming music. The quality of the FM transmission was about the same as most other Bluetooth FM transmitters – inconsistent and full of buzzes. That said, buzzing, distortion and static are all hallmarks of radio audio quality, so it’s not surprising.
The speakerphone picks up your voice using a dual-microphone system with excellent noise reduction. The two microphones can differentiate your voice from the background noises so your caller hears you and not the air conditioner or the traffic around you. The echo cancellation is also very effective. However, we heard some minor echoing, which occurs when the microphone picks up the voice of the other speaker, specifically when using the FM transmitter.
With the free MotoSpeak companion app, you can dictate text messages, status updates, emails and tweets without laying a finger on your phone. The app also reads text messages, emails, status updates and other content to you aloud. This allows you to stay connected to social media without taking your eyes off the road. The only problem with the app is it isn’t iOS compatible.
The Motorola Roadster 2 features all the common Bluetooth profiles associated with hands-free Bluetooth car kits except the Audio/Video Remote Control Profile. This means you can give voice commands, stream audio and voice dial, and the device can read caller ID information and GPS directions. Overall, you can interact with almost every smartphone function and feature without taking your hands off the wheel. The only thing it can't do is skip songs when you stream a playlist.
The battery can last for 20 hours of talk time, which is among the longest battery lives of Bluetooth hands-free car kits. However, the standby time is only three weeks, which is the shortest available.
It also has an automatic on and off feature that uses a motion detector. When you enter your car, it automatically turns on and pairs with your phone. It also turns off a minute after you leave your car to conserve battery power.
The Motorola Roadster 2 is a good Bluetooth car kit for hands-free calling, but it was beat out by better kits in our tests. Still, it provides versatile, hands-free controls and HD Voice call quality. In addition, the FM transmitter is a nice way to amplify your calls and stream music. The MotoSpeak app is a great tool that keeps you connected to your online social networks but only if you have an Android or BlackBerry device.