While many cars today have built-in Bluetooth there’s still so many without. That’s where the Motorola Roadster 2 comes into play. It’s a Bluetooth speaker for your car that offers so much more than just making and receiving phone calls. As we know, Motorola is the king when it comes to speakers and microphones so I would expect great quality and amazing performance. Does is live up? Hit the break to find out.
The design is similar to the Roadster 1 as far as build, but the coloring is different. The Roadster 1 is all black while the Roadster 2 is silverish grey. I never had a chance to use the original Roadster, so I assume the quality is the same. I have no complaints about this version whatsoever, which is the norm when it comes to Motorola.
The clip is designed to go on your visor and leave the speaker face down just above you. You will find the majority of buttons/switches at the front and bottom. The front has buttons for turning the microphone mute on or off, Send/Receive, and voice actions. The bottom as play/pause, volume up (+), volume down (-), and FM (for sending output to your FM radio). On the right side you have the power switch and micro USB port for charging. The buttons are easy to locate which driving and had decent response.
Motorola promises 20 hours of talk time (or steaming time) and I got all of that. That’s a decent amount and if you’re an average user, which means you probably will only need to charge it once a week. If you do a lot of audio streaming and/or make a lot of phone calls, you might find you need to charge it every other day. What’s really nice is that the moment your phone connects, it will announce the battery level as high, medium, or low.
Performance and Software
As with any Motorola device you expect great performance from the microphone and speaker. I did find the speaker to be fantastic and crystal clear. As to the microphone it was a little lacking as compared to my built-in Bluetooth. I wouldn’t expect it to be as good as that, but nonetheless it’s very usable and I didn’t find people were having a hard time hearing me. I was able to carry on conversations without having to repeat myself constantly, which is usually the case with competing speakers.
What really separates this speaker is the additional features that go beyond making phone calls. For example it’s compatible with the My MotoSpeak app as well as the Motorola Car Finder app. Both are available for free in the Google Play Store, and can be used with most Android phones. MotoSpeak allows you to compose texts, make phone calls, and hear text messages on the Roadster 2 all via voice control. It will even announce appointment reminders. It really is slick. If for whatever reason you don’t want to use the MotoSpeak app, you can utilize other voice command apps like Vlingo or even S Voice. It’s just a matter of setting up whichever one you want to use as the default.
The Motorola Car finder also works great. There are many car finder apps, but this one works automatically without you having to think about it. As soon as your phone disconnects from the Roadster 2, it will automatically lock the location of your car so you can easily find it whenever your ready to head home (or go to your next location).
The last item to discuss is the FM Transmitter. Having Bluetooth for your phone calls and texts is nice, but the ability to stream music or podcasts is a major plus. The problem with portable add-on speakers is the size. Who really wants to listen to stuff through a small speaker when you have nice speakers in your car that sound better and will overall give you a much better experience? Motorola installed an FM transmitter in the Roadster 2 so you can send anything speaker-related to your car’s stereo system via the FM radio. This includes phone calls, texts, music, and podcasts. FM transmitters are generally not the greatest quality and I found it to be the case here as well. The problem is your transmitting via Bluetooth then to FM, which makes it nearly impossible to give you a high quality experience. It certainly wasn’t as good as the quality of my built-in Bluetooth, but it’s more than adequate for talk radio or podcasts. As to music, like I said, it’s not the greatest, but livable. All you have to do is tap the FM button (and tune your FM radio to the matching channel) and it will begin. You can also hit the + and – buttons to select which FM frequency works best.
All in all the Motorola Roadster 2 makes a great Bluetooth speaker for your car. No it isn’t as good as built-in versions, but you get more features, which more than makes up for it. Compatibility with The Motorola Car Finder and the My MotoSpeak app is a plus and works very well. Those are features I wish my car had. You should be able to find the Roadster 2 for approximately $75, which is a fantastic deal, and the fact that June is National Safe Driving Month, I can’t think of a better reason to grab one now.