Best affordable hands free device?
November 17, 2014 6:32 AM   Subscribe

My area just began requiring the use of a hands free device while driving. I don't talk and drive very often, but am occasionally required to for work. I've never used a handsfree device before, so I'm not super sure what to even look for. Any suggestions? Bonus points if it's available on Amazon. Extra details that may or may not matter: I have an iphone 5c, and whatever I get will need to go on my left ear. I live in an area where it's often below freezing,and my car radio is not bluetooth enabled. Thanks!
posted by csox to Technology (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I struggled with much the same situation a few months ago, and came up with this bluetooth headset for about $20 on amazon. The sound is excellent, it's remarkably comfortable, and I've been very happy with it. (AFAIK, all such headsets can accommodate either ear; you just have to reverse the ear bracket.)

When I don't have my headset with me, I use the phone on speaker and rest it on my leg which also works pretty well in a pinch.
posted by DrGail at 6:44 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I use the one earbud from the headphones that came with my iPhone. The right earbud is the one with the mic integrated, so that may be a problem for you, however.
posted by Alterscape at 7:21 AM on November 17, 2014

I have pretty much the same headset DrGail posted, except I found mine on a clearance shelf at Staples for $0.99 (and it's still working perfectly 2 years later). It does one thing, and it does it well.

Though half the time I don't have it handy and use my earbuds, and it's fine to put the R bud in your L ear.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:28 AM on November 17, 2014

A different approach... I bought the previous version of this Bop, which has been on sale at B+M Brookstone stores for $20. It's surprisingly good and I can throw it into my briefcase for when the rental car doesn't feature Bluetooth. I've used it in hotel rooms to play tunes as well. My car charger has a USB slot so I just plug it into that but the battery lasts all day. Mine is spherical and very cheerful.
posted by carmicha at 7:53 AM on November 17, 2014

I've tried a variety of aftermarket bluetooth plug-in devices and speakers, and they all were terrible sound quality and a hassle to use; even those that were highly rated on Amazon or Wirecutter. I'm now on my 2nd Jabra wired headset, since the 1st one finally died after 7 or 8 years. Wired headsets are easy, reliable, better sound quality, no batteries to worry about... and apparently almost nobody makes them anymore.
posted by jeffjon at 8:31 AM on November 17, 2014

My coworker has an older version of the jabra drive and it's really impressive. Loud as hell if you need it to be, clear, and awesome noise cancellation. You can get used ones on amazon for $25.

It's good enough that if i ever needed something like that, i wouldn't bother hunting around. I'd just buy one of those. I seriously can never tell he's in the car when he uses it, and the sound quality on it from the other end is actually superior to the built in mic on his cheapo phone, which is a first for a bluetooth headset thing in my experience.
posted by emptythought at 7:40 PM on November 17, 2014

Response by poster: My god, it never even occurred to me that I could use the headphones that came with the phone itself!! I experimented with them last night, and with just one ear bud in the sound isn't great, but will certainly do in a pinch (and wins for most affordable!) Thanks for all the answers, looks like I have some great options to look into.
posted by csox at 5:56 AM on November 18, 2014

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