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Hands-free options for driving on phone

June 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The deadline for going hands-free while you drive is almost here. On Tuesday, if you're caught holding your cell phone while you're driving, it'll cost you. Do you have your hands-free system in place yet? There are lots of options beyond the headset. A headset is only one way to go hands-free. Who says you have to have the "Star Trek" look to go hands free with your cell phone? Tom Phillips isn't buying it.

"You don't know if they're talking to you or if they're talking to somebody on their phone," said Phillips. "It's embarrassing sometimes."

Yet most consumers figure a headset is their only choice.

"Everybody assumes that Bluetooth means headset, and a headset means Bluetooth," said Mike Hedge, Parrot Headsets. "They also think that the headset is the only hands-free solution available. That's not true."

But know this: You don't have to put anything in your ear at all. The option is a car kit unit.

"You clip them to your visor, and then you can either use the speaker phone built into the car kit, or we do carry one that actually speaks through your car radio through an FM transmission, and sends the signal through the FM radio, which in turn goes through your car speakers," said Will Coppock, Best Buy.

Car units are larger and more expensive. But for good reason.

"The Parrot MINIKIT is a battery-powered unit that gives you 10 hours of talk time and 10 days of standby," said Mike Hedge. "It's got a 2-watt speaker in it so it gives you excellent audio quality."

And some units are voice-activated and can even send sound through your car speakers for truly hands-free operation.

Whatever choice you make, headset or hands-free car kit, do it quickly.

"I'm definitely anticipating having no stock come July 1," said Will Coppock.

"I figure I better get in here now before it's too late and there's a run on these things," said Ron Smith.

Some locations are expecting lines of consumers trying to buy any hands-free device this weekend, so you may want to go early before your choice sells out. And if you would like a headset for free, click here: http://www.freeheadset.org/home.php.

There is a $4 cost for shipping the free headset, and because of so many requests, don't expect it to arrive by July 1.

 

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