It is a wonder that the Clip and Talk Bluetooth Car Kit Solar Edition had not been dreamt up before. When you are using any device in your car you are usually under the sun’s gaze in one way or another, so a gadget that charges itself up using the renewable resource that is sunlight seems like an eminently sensible one. The Solar Edition takes the basics of an already excellent hands-free Bluetooth in-car speakerphone and bolts on a solar panel to keep it topped up with power and always ready to rock and roll.
In the Box
The Clip and Talk device, complete with solar panel backing, comes with an in-car charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter if you have been experiencing a series of particularly dull days and need to juice it up by conventional means. You will also find a USB charging cable to supply it with power when you are out of the car. The final inclusion is the mounting bracket which attaches to the windscreen via three suction cups for easy installation and indeed removal. You can slide the Clip and Talk unit quickly in and out of the bracket itself to take it with you or to place safely out of the eyesight of any criminals in the glove compartment.
Functionality and Specs
Like all Bluetooth devices the Clip and Talk Solar Edition has a range of about 10m, which is of course irrelevant if you are using it in the confines of your car. It does mean that you should never experience any signal dropouts. It is compatible with version 2.1 of the Bluetooth wireless standards and also supports the enhanced data rate which makes voice lag-free. It can store details of up to 8 different paired devices for quick connection and you can chat unhindered for up to 13 hours on a single charge.
Once you have placed the suction-mounted bracket on your wind screen and slotted in the device, you will need to pair your phone with it. This is easy if you refer to your mobile phone instruction manual and link the two devices together. There is a large call answer button located at the top of the device directly above an ample volume adjustment bar and getting used to the various controls should take a matter of moments. If you have previously had the standard edition of the Clip and Talk, things are much the same with the Solar Edition.
Solar Panel Charging/Eco Credentials
Using the solar panel to charge the Clip and Talk will take around 18 hours. However, if you leave the device in your car or on a window sill when it is not in use you will hardly notice the time this takes. It will also continue to charge whilst you are in motion and whilst it is in use, without the need for any wires thanks to the solar panel. If you do choose to use the in-car charger you will have a wire trailing across to wherever you choose to position the device, which is far from ideal, but of course the solar panel allows for completely wireless use. The other benefit of using the solar panel is that you will not be draining any kind of electricity, which makes using the Clip and Talk very green indeed.
Like all secondary Bluetooth devices that allow for voice chats the quality can sometimes be a little ropey. Making calls is easy and the recipients report that the voice quality is consistently good with little background noise interfering thanks to the noise-cancelling microphone. Road rumble, tyre roar, vibrations and voice echo are all effectively countered by the Clip and Talk and it behaves like a Bluetooth headset. The volume level for inbound audio is also good, but the main issue is that voices seem to be slightly muffled. This is far from a catastrophic disaster, it is more of a niggle and it varies in severity from call to call. This is partially influenced by the method which the person you are talking to is making their call. If they are using a Bluetooth headset or in-car speaker setup there is the chance that the quality will be worse than if they are talking directly into their phone, but the capabilities of their own equipment have an effect on this as much as the Clip and Talk itself.
There is little doubt that the few minor flaws of the Clip and Talk Bluetooth Car Kit Solar edition are more than outweighed by the advantages of the solar panel charging system. Though it comes with the necessary connections for standard charging, most people who regularly use the device will probably leave it mounted in their vehicles at all times, so it will never need a wired connection to keep it fully charged.
Pictured left: available from mobile fun uk.