BlueAnt S4 Bluetooth Car Hands-Free Review

Posted Oct 6, 2010
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Recently we tested two amazing Bluetooth wireless devices from BlueAnt and trust me when I tell you this that I was thoroughly impressed by the not only the built quality but also the quality of sound and features as well.

This time around, I am reviewing the BlueAnt S4 Bluetooth wireless headset which features exceptional sound quality as standard and there are numerous other features to give you that extra edge over rest of the similar products available.

Features

  • Boom Voice, louder than any other headset in the market
  • Make and answer your calls using just your voice
  • Use your voice to access information services on the go
  • Text to speech technology reads out the name of the incoming caller
  • Embedded audio help talks you through setup and operation
  • Multi-point (connect to 2 phones and answer the one that rings)
  • A2DP streaming for playback of music, podcast and directions from a GPS application on your phone
    Firmware upgradeable
  • Up to 20 hours of talk time (700 hours standby)
  • 2 year replacement warranty

One thing any user requires the most in a car hands-free is quality of loudspeaker and mic. The S4 excels itself in this field along with an excellent connectivity (I really mean it). One of the top features also includes simultaneous connectivity with 2 phones. You can make or receive calls from both the phones simultaneously by just using one S4 hands-free. This feature is hardly available in any other car hands-free Bluetooth manufacturer.

Unboxing



The BlueAnt S4 Car Hands-free comes in a traditional BlueAnt blue packing with the device and accessories neatly packed for your convenience. Once you open the box, you will see a tray with all the items laid out perfectly. The S4 comes with two visor clips which attach to the magnets situated at the back of the hands-free device. The magnetic power is very impressive as once the metal clip-ons are attached, they are very hard to get off. Other than that, the standard accessories are USB car charger, which is to be plugged into the cigarette lighter space of your car and a mini-USB charging cable.



The S4 device it self is a sleek looking and speaks out the superior quality of BlueAnt products. Although there is a black screen right above the speaker on the front but unlike my first thoughts, it does not display the caller ID (which could have been a great feature). Towards the top of the front screen, there are three touch based buttons which are for call answer and volume controls. On the side of S4 the hardware power button is present with three settings for on/off and energy saver.


Of course there is a USB charging port on S4 as well so that you can connect the device not only for charging it but also for updating the firmware and internal software. Rest is all warranty cards and user manual neatly packed inside the box.

Setup

The setup of the BlueAnt S4 true hands free is a piece of cake; even a 5 year old kid can do it. The voice guiding is superb. The user just does not have to hold any buttons, even while driving or doing anything, the user can pair his/her phone with the S4 by the voice commands. Just say the magic word, “BlueAnt, speak to me.” This triggers the genie in the S4 while you keep your eyes on the road.

The instruction manuals provided with the hands-free are more than sufficient for any user to quickly learn the ropes and get on with using BlueAnt’s S4.

Just like the T1 and Q2, the S4, once paired with your phone, it copies all your contact into its memory for announcing the caller’s name. Volla!! You really don’t have to take your eyes off the road to see whose calling. It even announces the messages you receive along with reading out loudly the text with in the text message (the support for iphone is not yet there but this feature set is available for blackberry users and android users after installing a specific application for the hands-free).

The Testing


The S4 bluetooth car hands-free’s unique selling point is its clarity and loudness of voice along with exceptional noise cancellation capability. You really do not have to increase the loudness while talking on the S4. Even my wife sitting on the seat could properly hear the conversation using the hands-free while it was installed on the driving seat visor.

In all the tests the S4 performed exceptionally well with clear voice coming in from the other side and vice versa. I can hardly remember, if there was ever some distortion or breakage of voice while using the hands-free. A few times, when there was too much loudness in my surroundings e.g. if I have pulled down the window next to me in a busy area where there are horns and rickshaws everywhere, I had to listen to the call with full attention in order not to miss any word. This is not normally the case always. I just cannot under rate S4 just due to the extra ordinary noise in my surrounding.

The battery performance is superb. I charged the hands-free only once and was not able to drain or take it to a low battery level over the constant usage of four days. You can check the battery using a voice command.

I also tested it while setting it up with my iPhone 3GS and Nokia E90 and it worked like a charm.
Lastly, I tested the voice commands and honestly speaking, I was impressed but then again it’s not my cup of tea as I am fairly old fashioned and believe and looking at the number I’m dialing before making a call. I did however loved the “Answer” and “Ignore” voice feature, which is a life-line if you are way too busy, like me, either typing on the keyboard or driving.

You can even take the hands-free off from one car to another and start using it or if you want to enjoy some music on a loudspeaker where you do not have any other option, the A2DP feature works like a charm for the music playback.

I would like to highlight a few downers to this headset too, as there is nothing as perfect in this world. Following pointers will highlight the negatives of BlueAnt’s S4 Bluetooth car hands-free:

    1. There is no caller display on the S4
    2. If you have installed the S4 on a visor, you need to raise your hand in order to increase volume or receive calls (if not using voice commands).
    3. The loudness of the speaker in a noisy area is not that much.

Conclusion

BlueAnt is a company which specializes in manufacturing world class Bluetooth hands-free devices and S4 is no exception. From the very first moment you take the S4 bluetooth hands-free and install it in your car, you feel the special attention given to details in making of this device. From the very moment you turn it on, you will be impressed on how BlueAnt has thought of everything you would need to set it up and start using it. I just don’t have enough words to describe the great performance of this hands-free which definitely is worth a buy.

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