Review: SuperTooth HD Voice Bluetooth Speakerphone
From the outside, SuperTooth's HD Voice ($89) is pretty much identical to the company's earlier SuperTooth HD -- the big difference is the firmware inside. Gone is the ability to do voice-to-text messaging on any iOS device using SuperTooth's subscription-dependent Siri alternative; instead, this model just includes the same speaker and microphone systems, with simple set-up prompts that are spoken in 12 different languages. When a call comes in, HD Voice speaks the name of the caller, and all you have to do to answer is say the word "okay." HD Voice comes with a magnetic clip, as well as a charging cable and plug.
Except for the black plastic body’s finish—matte on this one, as opposed to glossy on the original—and the icon on the lowest button, SuperTooth HD Voice is identical to SuperTooth HD. They share the same microphone and speaker placement, volume dial, power button, and everything else. It’s a good design, so even though it’s been almost two years since the first release, we wouldn’t take any issue with the fact that so much has been recycled. As before, the internal battery is rated for 20 hours of talk time, and 1,000 hours of standby time.
When you first turn SuperTooth HD Voice on, it’ll begin cycling through voice prompts. First is British English, then American English, and it goes down the line, including French, Japanese, Polish, and seven more. When it gets to the one you want, pressing the button in the center of the dial will select it. Then, it will walk you through pairing, and download your device’s phone book for use in contact identification. Once this process is complete, it’s ready to go.
Designed to be mounted on your car’s sun visor, the handsfree kit provides a number of features. When a call is coming in, it’ll say “call from,” and speak the name of the person if it’s known. Saying “OK” or pressing the center button answers the call. You can also press that button to activate Siri if using an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5. The addition of the voice assistant and subsequent iOS 6 updates have reduced the need for SuperTooth HD’s Dial2Do service, which was iffy from the start, and pretty much pointless now.
Acoustically, SuperTooth HD Voice is basically identical to its predecessor, and that’s a good thing. From our previous review: “Where SuperTooth HD really won us over was in sound quality. Due in part to its two integrated speakers, it was the best performer in this group of Bluetooth speakerphones by a noticeable margin, delivering louder and clearer sound on both sides of our phone calls, while doing an even better job than the iPhone 4 of filtering out ambient car noises.” It also supports A2DP, so you can stream music if you choose.
SuperTooth’s latest speakerphone offers pretty much all the advantages of its previous edition—at least when paired with a recent generation iPhone—at a $40 lower price point. The design is attractive, the audio quality’s impressive, and the battery life is more than adequate. As for the language selection, anything that broadens the usability of an accessory is a good thing. SuperTooth HD Voice remains worthy of our high recommendation. The only real thing preventing it from receiving a flat A is the lack of any real innovation since the original release.