The Bluetrek Surface Sound Duo promises to turn your Bluetooth headset into a visor-mounted solution. Will this revolutionise the motoring world, or is it more of a car crash? We get talking to find out.
Measuring 9.5 x 18cm the Surface Sound Duo consists of, as the name suggests, a flat panel speaker and a range of buttons offering the normal controls you’d expect for a car kit. The device features no Bluetooth itself, but provides a protruding knob on to which you can connect your existing headset. Unfortunately, this also has to be a Bluetrek headset, and not just any Bluetrek headset, but one that is compatible with the device.
This does avoid the need to pair yet another device, but does limit your choices to those offered by Bluetrek.
The premise is that you slide the speaker unit onto your sunvisor and a clip is provided to facilitate such a setup. In truth, the control side of the speaker unit is heavier than the speaker side, thanks to the battery, so it has a tendency to wobble around as you drive, somewhat taking the shine off your delicately crafted interior.
The controls themselves will allow you to receive calls, change the volume, mute the call, redial, turn the LEDS on and off, as well as allowing three presets to be recalled – great for calling into the office, your mother and perhaps your wife and/or mistress. Voice-dialling is also supported.
You can charge the headset at the press of a button, but this does drain the power from the unit if not connected to the power. You do get a 12V charger, which is the USB adapter type, so you can charge from your car or a PC.
To power on the speaker you have to pull down an arm which houses the microphone. This is a far from ideal solution as it means you have a plastic stick hanging off your sunvisor, causing a distraction. Pull the visor down and the mic smacks into the windscreen. Not the best design solution.
Bluetrek suggest you could also use the plastic mic stick as a stand to turn the Surface Sound into a standalone speaker for conference calls and the like. Again, the design is not balanced so it stands like a drunken sailor, ready to topple over at the slightest touch.
The sound quality is not the greatest: in our tests it didn't seem to match that from a traditional speaker and you do have to make sure that both parties involved in the call are speaking clearly. Whilst the DSP noise cancellation cuts out background noise, you also get the sense that some lighter voice elements are being cut out, so at times it sounds as though the speaker is cutting out, softer sounds being processed out.
With no FM transmitter, a frustrating design and a speaker that is not fantastic, this is one in-car solution that struggles compared to some of the opposition out there.