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Review: Motorola T505 BT & FM Transmitter
After seeing someone mention the Motorola T505 in this thread, I decided to check it out for my self. I know this device has been out for a while, but due to the quality of it, I think a review can be beneficial for some.
Purpose of review: For those of you that drive older cars that did not come with bluetooth technology built in to the stereo and would like to hear phone calls on your stereo, this can be the device for you. Additionally, for those of you that do not have an iPod compatible radio and like to use their EVO as their primary portable music device, this may also be the device for you.
Overview and Un-boxing:The Motorola Motorokr T505 (link to Motorola's website) as an all-in-one bluetooth speaker phone and fm transmitter. The device measures approximately 2.75 inches long and wide (front to back and side to side, respectively) and is just shy of 1 inch think without the included clip (utilizing the pretty mandatory clip brings it to about 2 inches). The unboxing is very straight forward. Included inside the box are the device itself, the clip, a fold-our instruction pamphlet/diagram, a car charger (for the blue tooth. It will NOT work for your EVO), and some other miscellaneous papers. The instructional diagram is extremely easy to read and has pictures for every step of the setup.
Layout: The main function of the accessory is to be a BT speakerphone. The face of the device 2 buttons surrounding a back lit Motorola "M". The left button has a phone icon which is used for accepting, ending, flashing through, and making calls. The right button displays the play & pause icon, used for pausing and recommencing music and muting phone calls. On the left and right side of the device are the volume up and down buttons (respectively). While on a call, these buttons will raise or lower the volume and while playing music, these buttons will go forward or backward through your track listing. On the back of the device, opposite the call button is the power button and opposite the play/pause button is the FM transmitter button. The power button is activated and deactivated by holding it down for three seconds. The same goes for the FM transmitter button.
*It is important to note that these buttons are a bit awkward and take some time to get used to. This especially goes for the instances when you are required to press 2 buttons at once*
Using the T505: The pairing procedure is extremely simple. Once the device is on for the first time, it automatically goes into pairing mode. It came up immediately on the BT scan on my EVO and paired with no errors. The T505 announced that i may need a password and if so, the password is 0000, but i did not need it. Once paired, any audio output from phone calls made or received is played from the BT (which is not clipped about a foot away from me on my visor). The audio in microphone is also on the BT. Sound quality is very good on the speaker phone but it can be a little hard to hear people when driving on the highway. This goes especially for those of us that have loud cars (yes, i'm one of those guys that drives a very loud modded car. Sorry for setting your alarm off when i drive by ). However, this becomes a non-issue in FM transmission mode. On the other end of the phone, people reported that i would occasionally sound distorted but for the most part, ok. Having the windows open did not seem to effect the quality of my voice; people still said they could hear me fine, although i was more or less unable to hear them (again, non-issue, as i will discuss later). It is important to note that people did say they could hear everything, eg, road noise, my loud-*** car, etc, but my voice was still the most dominant thing they could hear. Additionally, any music you play on your EVO will be played on the speaker as well. The sound quality is decent, at best, for music and if you receive a phone call, they music stops as the device announces who is calling you. If you reject the call, your music picks up right where it left off. Same goes for you accepting and ending the call a few minutes later.
FM Transmitter: The built in FM transmitter is what changes the game for me. Once pair, you can turn on the FM transmitter. The BT will scan and within a few seconds, announce what frequency it recommends (usually a low 88-90 frequency). Once turned to that station, any audio from the phone is put out through your car's speakers. This holds true for both phone calls and music. You can easily control the volume now by adjusting the volume directly on your stereo and all the button features on the BT (taking and ending calls, skipping music tracks, etc.) still remain active. If the station you are on has a bit of static, tapping the FM button will make the device scan for a new station. Once you find a station that sounds good, you can save it by (awkwardly) pressing and holding the play/pause and FM button for 3 seconds (the BT will chime to let you know you saved it). Now the BT will prioritize that station next time you turn the FM transmitter on. And of course, when you receive or make phone calls, the music goes on pause while the call is on and picks up where it left off when ended.
Music Quality: As many users are likely to be playing music through this device, it is important to note that the quality is NOT perfect. That being said, it is very good. There are times where the volume seems to drop for less than a second, as if there was too much sound in the split-second of music and the BT couldn't transmit everything, but this is rare and inly noticeable when BLASTING the music. Overall, i would rate the quality of music 8 out of 10 as it is very good most of the time but occasionally gets hissy or sounds weird as aforementioned.
Battery Life: Here is another big seller for me. The battery life is GREAT on this BT. To put this into perspective, I drive anywhere between 30-50 minutes to work, then another 30-45 minutes to campus, and finally 40-50 minutes back home. Work is 5 days a week, school is 4 (even though i used this over the weekend, i am not including weekends in this small analysis). All things considered, MINIMUM weekly usage (excluding weekends) is approximately 460 minutes (over 7 hours). My BT is connected the entire time and almost always on FM transmission (i usually don't play music in the morning, but going to school and home, i always use it). Plus i take calls occasionally too. Considering all the aforementioned, after 2 weeks of this (10 work days), my battery was still not low (the "M" flashes red when low). I decided to charge it today just cause. I am very impressed with the battery life of this BT.
Trepidation: It wouldnt be fair for me to conclude this review without stating what i do not like about the BT, so here are a list of annoyances:
1. The speaker itself is not as loud as i'd like. When i'm not on FM transmission and i get a phone call, i don't want to have to turn on the FM transmitter and change my radio station just to hear who's calling me. When normally driving on the street, this speaker will suffice. But if you have a loud car and you're flying down the highway, eh....
2. The buttons are a bit awkward. I've gotten used to them already, but initially, it's a little annoying using the buttons on the back of the BT.
3. The music quality issue listed above.
4. This is the closest you can get to having a BT sync in a car stereo without having a BT stereo, and it comes with a small price. You have to press a lot of buttons to get it started. For example, a typical "getting in my car" experience when leaving work and heading to school. Get in my car, start the car, turn on the EVO BT, plug it into the car charger, turn on the T505, wait for it to sync, turn on the FM transmitter, wait for it to announce the station (same station every time, it's already saved on my radio), change to appropriate station, select music on EVO you want to hear, enjoy. Sounds like a lot because it is. Admittedly, this takes all of 15 seconds, but still, sometimes i don't feel like it. Also, you cannot turn to the saved FM station before the BT announces it otherwise it'll grab a different one. Weird, but it happens.
Conclusion: I am very happy with this device and recommend it to anyone that would like the things listed in the purpose of review section. My biggest worry was the battery life and it is phenomenal. It's not perfect, but it's very close. Because the device is older, most stores around me didn't carry it (no best buy, walmart, etc.) I was able to find it at Staples for $85 (but i had a $25 coupon ). However, i've seen it online for as low as $59.99 (tiger direct, i think).
**Lastly, I do not have my factory car antenna. I replaced my antenna with an Autoloc in-car antenna, so my antenna is located inside my car on my rear windshield. I am aware that many people have had trouble getting good reception with FM transmitters. Reception is not an issue for me, and whether that is due to device quality, antenna quality or possible antenna location, is unknown to me. The point is, there are many variables to consider when purchasing a product such as this; individual results may vary due to these variables. My experiences are as above and I hope if you purchase this product, yours will be too.**
Hope this was informative and helps someone!