Primarily, if you’re looking to install a handsfree kit into your vehicle, you must have a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone. Without Bluetooth technology, which enables the transferal of wireless data, you won’t be able to operate the vast majority of handsfree devices on the market.
Cheap and cheerful, but not necessarily safe while driving, wireless Bluetooth earpieces, are about the cheapest option available.
Earpieces can be bought for around the $20 mark, and are very portable. These devices still involve some physical input from mobile users. If you need to search a contact, for instance, you have to scroll through your contacts list on your mobile, which isn’t ideal if you’re concerned about safe driving.
A basic handsfree unit that fits onto your sun visor can range from $150-$300. Most of these devices are handsfree to a degree; you will still need to push a button to start a call or end a call on many devices. Some portable sun visor devices have voice recognition technology built in, which means the device will follow your vocal instructions – this is safer because you don’t need to take your hands off the wheel.
The advantage of these kits is that users can take them out of their box, upload their contacts and pretty much start straight away. They are also transferable, which means you can use them in multiple vehicles or take your device home with you.
Other devices are normally hardwired into your car and you will incur an installation cost from around $100. These devices range in price from $300, up to thousands of dollars for multimedia kits. Hardwired devices are generally perceived in the handsfree industry as the safest devices around because they involve little or no tactile involvement from drivers.
The majority of handsfree devices in this range also run on voice recognition software, but not all are voice-activated, which means you may still have to use your hands to enable certain features.
And for all you ardent texters out there: those in the industry say that voice-activated texting is not too far away.
Voice-to-text software has been around for some time, but it is a difficult technology to perfect. Every human voice is different, whether it is your accent or the way you enunciate words. This particular technology is improving however, which means that you may soon be able to text while driving, without lifting a finger.