Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Jabra Cruiser: A Great Bluetooth Car Kit (Updated Review)

[12/30/2009: Product links corrected - sorry about the error!]
[05/31/2010: Updated with pairing instructions - see end of post]

A while back, I broke my Bluetooth car kit (I knocked it out of the car onto the concrete - doh!). jabracruiser I did without a car kit for a while, but my state (Oregon) will begin to require hands-free devices for all cell phone use in cars beginning January 1, 2010. As I was looking for a new device, I discovered the Jabra Cruiser. This is a compact device that clips on your visor, providing an unobtrusive option for handsfree calling.

This device was very easy to set up, and paired with my iPhone automatically - much easier than with any of my previous Bluetooth devices. The controls are very simple to figure out and it is easy to use without creating lots of dangerous distractions while driving.

Hey Listen - I'm on the radio!

But the fun doesn't stop there. One of the other things I really like about the Jabra Cruiser is that it has a built-in FM transmitter. This means:

  • I can either use the Cruiser's built-in speaker for calls, or I can pipe the call audio through my car stereo.
  • I can use the Jabra Cruiser as a "relay" to stream music, podcasts, etc. to my stereo without any additional cables, adapters, etc. Note that this requires a phone that supports Bluetooth Stereo (A2DP), such as any iPhone with v3 iPhone OS or higher.
  • The added advantage of using this device as a relay for my iPhone's audio is that I can listen to podcasts while driving and, when a call comes in, the audio is automatically paused while I take the call and the podcast resumes when I hang up. Way cool.

Nice quality audio

Easy to hear

I've tried other FM transmitters for my iPhone before, but I returned every one of them because their signals were too weak and I got a lot of hissing and static over my car stereo. In contrast, I am very pleased with the Jabra Cruiser's quality over FM.

The Cruiser will automatically find and announce (with its built-in voice) the frequency to which you should tune your stereo. I have been using the FM capabilities for a while now and, while I've heard static occasionally when I'm near large power lines, I haven't been bothered by static or hissing with this device. I think one of the things that makes a huge difference is that the Jabra Cruiser uses its wire visor clip as an antenna, which seems to greatly improve the effectiveness of its FM transmitter.

You can pause and resume audio using the Jabra's buttons which means you can start music on your phone while it's still in your pocket. If your device supports it (alas, the iPhone does not) you can move to the next or previous track with the Jabra's controls, too.

If you would rather use the built-in speaker, it is loud and clear - easily heard in a moving car.

Easy to be heard

Callers have commented that I am easy to hear on the Jabra Cruiser, and that it does a nice job of filtering out background noise and road noise (and this is true whether I use the built-in speaker or the FM stereo audio output during calls).

In case you're wondering how it sounds, I left a short message on my voice mail using the Jabra Cruiser while driving, and you can have a listen by clicking the following link (now updated in MP3 format for broader device support):

spkr Sample Audio from Jabra Cruiser call (Now in MP3)

Other features

There are a number of other useful features provided by the Jabra Cruiser, as well (all subject to your phone supporting the feature over Bluetooth):

  • Voice dialing
  • Address book support so that incoming callers can be announced by name
  • Support for multiple languages (English, French
  • Multipoint device support so you can connect to 2 devices at once
  • Great battery life (rated at 14 hours talk-time and 13 days standby time)

In short, I really like the Jabra Cruiser - it's far better than any Bluetooth car kit I've ever used. (And I am happy I'll be quite legal when January 1 rolls around!)

By the way - if you order through Amazon, it's elegible for free 2nd Day Air shipping in the US via the Amazon Prime program, so you can get it in time for Christmas if you want to give it as a gift.

Jabra Pairing Instructions for use with iPhone (similar process for other phones)

Several times a day, someone comes to this page searching for something like "Jabra cruiser pairing mode" so I figured I'd provide the instructions here to make it easier:

  • Turn the Jabra Cruiser on.
  • Press and hold the answer/end button for approximately 5 seconds until “pairing mode” is announced.
  • On the iPhone, go to the Settings icon, then select "General."
  • Select "Bluetooth."
  • In the Bluetooth screen, make sure Bluetooth is set to "On," and you should see "Jabra CRUISER" appear in the Devices section of the screen.
  • Select Jabra Cruiser, and pairing should finish automatically. You shouldn't be prompted for a passphrase but, if you are, use 0000.

I hope you find this helpful!