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Road Test: Two Bluetooth speakerphones

In our comparative review, we road test two bluetooth speakerphones: Roadmaster's VR3 and Spracht's Aura Mobile BT. Here, in this image gallery, we get up close and personal with all of the nooks and crannies of both devices.
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By Matt Conner, Contributor on
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1 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
The Spracht Aura Mobile BT was the sleeker looking of the two Bluetooth speakerphones that we took for a road test. It also does something the Roadmaster VR3 (our other candidate) doesn't do: it works as a speakerphone for your voice over IP applications. As you can see though, it has no display (unlike the VR3).
For David Berlind's write-up on The Spracht Aura Mobile BT, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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2 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
Four very similar buttons grace the front of Spracht's Aura Mobile BT: Volume Up (top right), Volume Down (bottom right), Bluetooth Pairing/Command (top left) and Microphone Mute (bottom left).At the very bottom of the device is the power button.
While the buttons may work well in a VoIP speakerphone situation (eg: for Skype), they're awful for using in the car when the device is mounted upside down on a visor. Their icons are so small and difficult to see. Especialy when driving at night.
For David Berlind's write-up on The Spracht Aura Mobile BT, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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3 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
The Spracht Aura Mobile BT has a line in jack, an external mic jack and a jack for power. The primary usage of the jacks is to connect the device to a PC for usage with a VoIP application like Skype. The cables for doing this are included with the device. Also included is an external microphone that can be plugged into the jack for better audio pick-up. The power jack can be used with an AC power source (cable included) or a DC power source (cable included) meaning that it works in the office as well as in your car.
For David Berlind's write-up on The Spracht Aura Mobile BT, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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4 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
The Aura has LED lights that illuminate depending on the status of the device. If the Bluetooth light is blinking blue, that means it's paired up with another device. If the status light is green, that means the device is on. If the charge light is amber, that means it is charging. Unlike with the VR3, there's no way to tell how much battery charge is left in the rechargeable battery (but it will start beeping at you if the battery is low).
For David Berlind's write-up on The Spracht Aura Mobile BT, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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5 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
One very cool touch of the Spracht Aura Mobile BT is its built-in retractable visor-clip for easy in-car attachment (see the previous images for how this is completely hidden when not in use). The retractable feature of the visor clip is a testament to the Aura's ability to be used for VoIP apps on the desktop. The VR3 had nothing like this.
For David Berlind's write-up on The Spracht Aura Mobile BT, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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6 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
The Roadmaster VR3 hands-free Bluetooth-based speakerphone doesn't look nearly as sleek as the Aura Mobile BT and in some ways, the materials and color make it feel and look a little cheap. But, as we learned, you can't judge a book by its cover. For example, the display which flips out for easier viewing when the VR3 is mounted on a visor (see next image) makes it a better pick for in-car usage.
For David Berlind's write-up on Roadmaster's VR3, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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7 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
The Roadmaster VR3's display can be flipped-out from the body of the device for better on-the-road viewing when the unit is mounted to the visor. Just having the display was a big advantage over the Aura Mobile BT. For example, with the display, you only need to glance up to see who is calling you. Because of the Aura Mobile BT's lack of a display, you have to pick your phone up to do this. In other words, it's not as hands-free as the VR3 (and it's more dangerous for use on the road).
For David Berlind's write-up on Roadmaster's VR3, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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8 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
The Roadmaster VR3 has two buttons on the front of the device: the Bluetooth Multi-Function Button and the Cancel Button). Both buttons illuminate which makes them easier to see at day and night when driving in a car. For volume control, there's a thumb jogger (seen in one of the next images).
For David Berlind's write-up on Roadmaster's VR3, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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9 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
The Roadmaster VR3's mini USB port is used for charging the device (car lighter adapter included). Also shown here is the volume control. It's not a dial, but rather a jogger. One nit...when mounted to a visor, the wire that goes to the mini-USB port ends up having to come out the front edge of the device (the edge closest to the driver) instead of the rear-edge (which gives you more opportunity to get the wire out of the way).
For David Berlind's write-up on Roadmaster's VRBT200V, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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10 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
Unlike the Aura Mobile BT, the Roadmaster VR3 doesn't have an external microphone capability. But if you have a tough time hearing what the person on the other end of the line is saying, there's a mini-headphone jack like the one that comes on cell phones (the device comes with a single-ear earbud.
For David Berlind's write-up on Roadmaster's VR3, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.
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11 of 11 Matt Conner/ZDNET
The Roadmaster VR3's adjustable LED display is an integral part of it's support of the hands-free profile. It displays caller-ID, inbound and outboud call-logs, and remaining power in the rechargeable battery. Some of the icons in the display were a little confusing though. Even so, we considered to be better than having no display at all.
For David Berlind's write-up on Roadmaster's VR3, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.

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