BlackBerry Bluetooth speakerphone shootout - BlueAnt S4 vs. BlackBerry VM-605 vs. Mr. Handsfree Blue Vision II

CrackBerry Idol - Shankeith
By Kevin Michaluk on 4 Aug 2010 05:46 pm EDT

BlackBerry Bluetooth Speakerphone Shootout

Having a Bluetooth headset is becoming a necessity for some people as laws are being enforced all over North America against talking on cell phones without a handsfree device. However some people prefer not having something wrapped around their ear or a device they can utilize fully while on the road. There are cars that have the feature of having a Bluetooth system built in, but for those who are not fortunate to have one, there are Bluetooth Speakerphones. In this review, I will be putting the top three selling in the CrackBerry Store to the test to see which one is right for you. We'll be looking at the feature rich Blue Ant S4, the popular Blackberry VM 605 and the easy to use Mr. Handsfree Blue Vision II.

Bluetooth Speakerphone Shootout

BlueAnt S4

Bluetooth Speakerphone Shootout

The BlueAnt S4 is the most feature rich out of the three. It is a complete handsfree system where you can answer and make calls without touching the actual unit but by using your voice instead. Also when ever an email comes in or a text, with the help of Vlingo (which will be needed to be downloaded on to your phone), they will be read out loud through the speakerphone. When calls come in the caller's name is announced as long as they are a contact on your phone otherwise the phone number is announced. The vocal prompts help understand whats going on instead of just beeps and tones, so you know when you are paired up, when a call is coming or etc. Also with a nice modern look to it, it definitely looks great in the car.

Blackberry VM 605

Bluetooth Speakerphone Shootout

The Blackberry VM 605 has one button for everything right on the front of the unit. The button is used to Answer and Make calls, to power on and off the unit and even pair up the unit to the phone. This is not only simple but also convenient as you don't need to find the right button while driving. A feature that the other two don't carry is the FM transmitter capability. This basically means that you can put your telephone conversation or your media from your phone directly to the speakers in your car by tuning into the provided FM channel. The FM channel search built into the unit will actually look for a good channel without any problems so you end up with the best quality transmission possible. Vocal prompts are also available and support 8 different languages.

Mr. Handsfree Blue Vision II

Bluetooth Speakerphone Shootout

The Mr. Handsfree Blue Vision II is the most simple as far as feature set but that's what makes it one of the highest selling in the CrackBerry Store. Unlike the other two, it has a dual microphone system which allows for a better quality phone conversation. The microphone can also be swivelled and pointed in the right direction to get maximum quality. A remote control is included with programmable speed dial up to 10 numbers. The same remote uses the same keypad to dial out a number beyond the saved 10 numbers.


As far as sound quality goes, these are the best of the best. The Digital Signal Processing allows for background noise reduction where people couldn't even tell that was I in a car. All of them also feature full duplex, meaning that you can talk while you listen. You don't have to wait for the other end to finish speaking, in fear of not hearing the other side while you are interrupting them. All three speakerphone systems are really meant to be used in the car as visor mounts however you can always unclip the clips to use them on your desk as speakerphones when not in the car. Of course, they come with a car charger as well. However, I would definitely not recommend you have it charging it while you have it on your visor unless you wouldn't mind getting into an accident with the chords hanging out in front of you.

Which speakerphone is best for you?

So now that we have a better idea of some of the features, which one is the right one for you? Well it all depends on what you are looking for.

The most features

If you are looking for a unit that's completely handsfree and has the most features, hands down it would be the BlueAnt S4. The built in voice recognition is the selling point on this for a complete handsfree experience that you cannot get with the other two. Having the ability to call out and answer the phone without hitting a button is a huge plus when keeping an eye on the road. There are a few more steps then the other two when setting up the features; however this is to be expected with this type of technology.

One button for it all

For those looking for a more simple approach, but are still looking for versatility, the Blackberry VM 605 is the choice. The FM transmitter is the bonus feature and offers the convenience of hearing everything over your car speakers, including your media. Most people have trouble finding a good quality transmission when they are using any FM transmitter, however with the built in FM scan search, the VM 605 automatically looks for the best station for the best possible connection. Having one button that has the ability to do every function is great when driving as you don't have to look up to see what you are pressing. The only downside is that it doesn't offer the choice to have two phones paired at the same time like the other two models.

The most simple to use

If you are looking for the most simple and straight forward to use, it would be the Mr. Handsfree Blue Vision II. Although it has the least amount of features compared to the other two, it is the easiest and quickest to setup and it just plain works. You really don't need the manual as the buttons are clearly labelled and you can easily understand how to use the features. The remote is a nice touch and once again, is pretty straight forward. Since there are a lot of buttons, this could be seen as a negative when driving, as you would have to look down to see what you are pressing on the remote or the device.

Bluetooth Speakerphone Shootout

Final Say

For those that are on the road and are looking for an alternative to the Bluetooth headsets, the Bluetooth speakerphones are great devices. Just taking a look at all three of these devices and getting the chance to play around with them made me understand why these are the best selling in the CrackBerry Store. They offer great sound quality back and forth and the lists of features are impressive. Each of the three is geared towards different type of users so there is one for every type of lifestyle. Not only that, these don't only work with Blackberry Smartphones but with any phone that allows a Bluetooth connection. Don't forget to check out the CrackBerry Store to order these and other Bluetooth products.

Reader comments

BlackBerry Bluetooth speakerphone shootout - BlueAnt S4 vs. BlackBerry VM-605 vs. Mr. Handsfree Blue Vision II


Kevin (aka Ryan Seacrest): You picked a great set of products to work with for a review there Shankeith. I know I love my Visormount. Let's see what the judges thought of your review.

CrackBerry Idol Judges

Dieter: You hit a lot of details in your video and review, so many it was hard to keep them straight. When you're writing a head-to-head(!)review and shooting a video, you really need to simplify it down and make sure we remember just one thing about each product you're comparing - a chart can really help too. So great detail, a little dry, but try to bring out the 'executive summary' a bit more.

Georgia: Your video was well done but I wonder if comparing three devices was too much to cover. I found it hard to follow each device and their strengths and weaknesses. I would have liked to have known which device you found most reliable by the end of the video. The written review had a few run on sentences which made it a bit difficult to follow. Thanks for the submission and let's hope this was enough for the next leg of the competition.

Craig: I was a little bored by the video and I think it was your speaking style. I was disappointed that the video ended with the suspense of which device you chose, but then your written review didn't have a winner. Your written review was good with 2 exceptions. How many capital 'B's does BlackBerry have? There were also some grammatical errors. Making it to the accessory round is impressive but you are going to have to step it up to keep up with the other competitors if you make the finals and want to have a shot at winning.


Interesting concept, but you lack more cohesive details. You don't draw conclusions enough to make me want to buy any of those. I have a BlueAnt Voice Command Bluetooth Headset for around $50 that does just about what you are saying the others do here, all with my voice. Your video didn't hold my attention. Sorry. :(

Agree that the in ear bluetooth devices drive me crazy.

Was a very informative review. I feel like I understand the products enough to make an educated purchase. Choosing to review three of them wasn't a bad choice either. If you would have only reviewed two, there would be more work I would need to do before making a decision. You didn't put much enthusiasm or personality into it though, which definitely could have been improved on. Leaving the cliff hanger in the video and not following up was a mistake as well..

My 2 cents.... Review would mean more about test so that others can see and understand if the product has features suitable for them to buy:
1. When you brought fone close to camera, it wasnt clear and blurred, so i cudnt see
2. I couldnt hear anything clearly on what was going on in the speakerfone
I like your tone.... your backdrop (which is surely missing from others).... But that perspective was missing..

Well i'm impressed. Even though your video was a little dry, it definitely show cased the devices. There were a few poor sentence structures, it was an improvement from your last written review. The pictures showed amazing quality, and graph showed your awesome effort. The only thing I'd like to see is a bit more out of the videos. You didn't seem excited or even interested. Great job man! You finally caught my vote!

Liked the video, good review, think the judges are smoking weed on this review, but hey they have already lost have their audience with all this BB OS 6 and Slider drama going on, so you can't blame them for thinking a 10 page review is the perfect review and a fast review with the primary points of interest explained is a bad review. I think perhaps a good review would be where Alicia's skill set meets Shankeith's quick and easy to follow style. Lots of detail but not too long to read and listen to. Aww, I guess different strokes for different folks. I like short and to the point, others may like long and more comprehensive. I guess the judges prefer the latter.

Shankeith, I thought you did a good job on limiting the ahs and ums on your video. Liked the sections and photos in written review. Told me what I needed to know, to make a good selection. I didn't vote for you last time, but I may have to save you a vote. I currently use a BlueAnt older model and it works great. But I do like the model you had that offered FM capability. I found myself wondering about that visor model that Kevin talked about when watching your video, guess you didn't get to review that one, too.

I really liked the written review. I found it to be the right lenghth: long enough to give me the core features and short enough to hold my attention. good job!

After watching the video, then i had to stay tuned and read all of that up there. Makes me not want to buy one anymore. It gaved me a headach, should just keep things simple.

but i did read the article..
yeah it was a little dry i suppose, but all the facts i need to know were there, and i actually like the truly non bias presentation in the article.
if theres one thing i dont like is when a reviewer puts so much of their enthusiasm into a review, that they often downplay huge faults of the product they like, while blowing out of proportions attributes they do like.

or worse when they make a product that is really a decent product sound horrible.

so yeah, you'd get my vote, but since my job blocks streaming videos here, i'll have to watch the vid when i get home..

now to go look for a cheap blueant S4.. and maybe pick up that Vlingo i been holding out buying.. kinda sick of fumbling with my phone while driving.. law or no laws.


I liked this review. I am not in the market right now so didn't read all of the review, but watched the video and skimmed the written. The chart made all the difference for me, but unless I missed it I wanted to know COST (should have been in chart). It is OK to me you left the decision up the reader because the different products would appeal to different customers. As for style of speaking, I actually liked the calmness. It would come off as artificial for you to force yourself into another style, and I can't stand the "sideshow barker" style we have seen in one review.

I really think CrackBerry Nation is benefiting from the CB Idol contest. These reviews take so much time and work, that honestly it is not possible for a person to keep up this level in the work-a-day grind. We have barely started to see the reviews and I am already wondering how we are supposed to choose a winner. I learn much, and will be revisiting these as I purshase new products/apps. These submissions are an important addition to the CB database.

I think this was a pretty good review. It definitely seemed like you were trying to control your speech more in the video (a lot fewer Um's than others).

For the most-part, the written review was pretty good. Definitely missed on listing PRICE. It would have helped to have that in your comparison chart.

I think I have tried waaaaaay too many handsfree systems. Lets get the Blackberry out of the way right up front. It's an overpriced Jabra. I have the Blackberry and Jabra SP700. They are identical, right down to the voice. The Jabra costs half. The FM transmitter sucks in both. If you want music, use a wired connection - the sound quality over the FM transmitter is terrible. Outgoing calls are hard for my call to understand at times. Incoming sound is just OK.

The Blackberry is pretty though.

I also have a Sony, another Jabra (Cruiser) and two other Blueants - the Supertooth 3 and Supertooth Light. The Sony kicks butt in the sound department, but lacks features and outgoing calls aren't so hot. The Supertooths (Superteeth?) have just OK outgoing sound and incoming is acceptable. Feature sets are good but not as good as the S4.

The S4 outgoing sound is much improved and beats any of the above handfree systems. I am easily understood in my car at freeway speeds. Incoming sound is good - not as good as the Sony but close. Better than any of the others. The voice control WORKS. It works great. Much better than the voice recognition on my Storm 2.

I also have OnStar, and while incoming voice sounds hugely better on OnStar (it comes through my car stereo) outgoing is better on the S4.

This is the best clip-on handsfree you can get.