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Globe and Mail reporter Peter Cheney speaking on his Blackberry using a Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset.

Peter Power/Peter Power/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Now the cellphone ban is in force in Ontario, Peter Cheney looks at solutions

Wired Blackberry headset

Price: Free with many phones

Simple wired device includes earphone and miniature microphone that dangles near your throat. Included with many phones as a free accessory.

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The Good

  • Free
  • Decent sound quality
  • The Luddite's choice: no complex setup - just plug it in the side of your phone

The Bad

  • Down and dirty solution isn't actually hands free - you have to use the buttons on your phone to answer or hang up
  • You'll forget you're wearing it, and drag your phone out of the car


Sony-Ericsson HCB-108

Price: $99.99

Wireless speaker box. Clips to the sun visor, automatically links with Bluetooth phones. You can answer and hang up by tapping a button.

The Good

  • Automatically connects to your phone when you get in the car
  • Reasonable sound quality
  • Reasonable cost

The Bad

  • You still end up dialling from the phone (unless you know how to use voice-dialling feature)
  • Features hidden within black box - you may never figure most of them out
  • Charger cord too short

Motorola T-325

Price: $89.99

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Wireless speaker box. Clips to the sun visor, automatically links with Bluetooth phones. You can answer and hang up by tapping a button.

The Good

  • Automatically connects to your phone when you get in the car
  • Reasonable sound quality
  • Reasonable cost

The Bad

  • You still end up dialling from the phone (unless you know how to use voice-dialling feature)
  • Features hidden within black box - you may never figure most of them out
  • Mysterious electronic voice pipes up with messages like "connection failed," or "battery level high."

Plantronics Voyager Pro

Price: $149

Wireless headset, links with Bluetooth phones. Can be used anywhere. Uses boom mike to improve voice pickup. You can answer or hang up by tapping a button on the side of the headset.

The Good

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  • Boom mike gives excellent sound quality
  • Easy to understand controls
  • Bigger than most Bluetooth headsets, but still small enough to slip in your pocket

The Bad

  • You'll look like the ShamWow guy
  • Weight and size - after half an hour, you'll want to take it off
  • Can't answer the phone without headset once you've activated it

Aliph Jawbone

Price: $139.99

Wireless headset, links with Bluetooth phones. Can be used anywhere. Vibration sensor technology sounds far-fetched, but works beautifully. You can answer or hang up by tapping the side of the headset.

The Good

  • Excellent sound quality
  • So light you don't notice it
  • Clings to your head like a pilot fish on a shark

The Bad

  • Bluetooth geek effect
  • Must be under 30 to understand mysterious hidden controls
  • Noise Assassin can be a call-killer
  • Can't answer the phone without headset once you've activated it

Motorola H790

Price: $89.99

Wireless headset, links with Bluetooth phones. Can be used anywhere. Classic miniature headset.

The Good

  • Good sound quality
  • Low price
  • Light weight, stays in place well

The Bad

  • Bluetooth geek effect
  • Can't answer the phone without headset once you've activated it
  • Sound quality doesn't quite match the Voyager Pro or the Jawbone (but it's nearly half the price.)

iLane

Price: $399

Advanced box that promises to make your car a voice-command rolling office. You can review e-mail and respond while you drive.

The Good

  • You can clear your e-mail inbox while you drive
  • Includes hands-free phone solution

The Bad

  • High price
  • You have to read a 49-page manual
  • E-mail responses aren't texts; iLane sends out MP3 voice files

Now the cellphone ban is in force in Ontario, Peter Cheney looks at solutions

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