The Scosche solVue solar-powered Bluetooth speakerphone offers hands free calling without the need of the car charger, at least most of the time. We asked the company to let us test one and for the most part were satisfied with a couple of drawbacks.
The solVue fastens to your Window or sun visor with one of two clear plastic holders. It comes with suction cups or a hook that grabs the visor. It has a mini-USB port, cable and car charger for charging the device the first time. It is also there for whenever there is not enough sunlight to charge the device through the solar panels on the back. In a few weeks of testing we only had to revert to the USB charger twice – the first time we charged it up and once when it was removed from the Window by another driver.
Pairing is simple. The first time you turn it on, the solVue announces that it is in pairing mode and gives you the code to enter. On my iPhone 4 I didn’t even have to enter the code. I just tapped on the device in the list of Bluetooth devices on my phone and it paired automatically. After the first pairing it pairs quickly each time. However, we had an issue with it occasionally not pairing with the phone even though Bluetooth was turned on. This happens about once every five or six times. The solVue wakes up when it is jostled by the opening of a car door. It announces that is ready. But every once in a while it fails to pair with the phone. The solution is to just wait and it will usually try again by the time you start driving.
On the device there is a large speaker that is perfectly loud enough to hear, even with music playing. It doesn’t announce the caller ID information the way most speakerphones do. We didn’t have any problems with people hearing or understanding us while using the device. There is a sample of the audio recorded in our voice mail service from our phone company in the video review below.
The solVue has a screen that offers very basic information. It tells you when it is in speakerphone mode, pairing mode, and when it is charging. It can get distracting because each time it starts charging via solar power the display turns on and shows the word charging.
There are indicators for signal strength, pairing, and battery level. The screen swivels down so you can see it more easily.
The hinge on swiveling screen of our model was broken out of the box. The law of averages says that we are going to see a broken product on occasion. It is not the first time a review unit from a tech company arrived broken. But it does call into question the durability of the device.
We were somewhat satisfied with the solVue. The broken hinge and pairing inconsistency are not minor drawbacks. The list price of $109.99 is just way too much for this product. Amazon has it listed at a little more reasonable $73.36. That is what we would expect to pay for a speakerphone of this quality.
If you are looking for a Bluetooth speakerphone and your number one concern is that it be solar-powered, this is not a bad choice at the lower price. But there are better options available. We looked at the Griffin BlueTrip Aux Bluetooth device that plugged into your car’s auxiliary input via a speaker cable. It is a small form factor cigarette lighter device. The Bluetooth pairing has better sound and is more consistent and reliable. Plus it will play music or the audio from video through the car stereo giving very good quality.
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