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Review: Griffin WindowSeat Handsfree

High quality mounting and Handsfree for your smartphone

If you’ve got a smartphone then it stands to reason that you’d want to integrate it with your car stereo some how.

The problem is that while more and more cars now support Bluetooth connectivity as standard, a lot of us can’t warrant changing cars just to get that extra functionality on the move.

That being said, a lot of original stereos in cars from the last decade will have a 3.5mm input for an MP3 player or mobile phone.

The WindowSeat Handsfree from Griffin is a great way to keep your smartphone accessible while also allowing audio playback through your stereo and hands free calling.

Essentially the kit is made up of two parts; a suction clamp/arm/phone holder and a lead to connect to your stereos auxiliary input.  The former keeps your phone safe, secure and in view while the latter incorporates a microphone which allows you to make hands free calls while driving.

The mounting arm is pretty comprehensive and comes in four parts:

1)  A mounting cradle for your phone.

2)  A suction cup which to the cradle.

3)  A plastic plate allowing you to mount the above on the dash rather than the window.

4)  An extension arm for the mounting cradle for if the windscreen is a million miles from the dash (think large saloon or sports coupé)

All four parts work together well.  In tests over a number of days the mount didn’t become detached from the windscreen once, and the phone remained completely in place for the duration.

Even with the optional extension arm connected there was no sign of vibration which could make the screen of your smartphone difficult to read, or worse still; effect call quality.

Hands free calling.

The second part of this kit is the 3.5mm extension lead which connects your smartphone to your cars stereo.  One end is just an ordinary 3.5mm stereo connector (connect this to your stereo), but the other end actually builds a microphone into the connector, allowing you to control your phone and place phone calls while driving.

The actual functionality will depend upon your handset, but almost any phone with a 3.5mm hands free connection will function perfectly with the supplied lead.

In tests we found that the call quality while stationary (or at very low speeds) was absolutely fine, there was little distortion and having a conversation was no problem at all.

However, at higher speeds we found that the audio quality from the mic was poorer.  This is likely due to the ambient noise cancellation on most smartphones, which activates when you’re in areas with high background noise.

Unfortunately this is a fact of life and there are few hands free kits which will help with the problem.

That being said, for quick calls (“put the kettle on love, I’ll be home in 5″) it shouldn’t be a problem at all, just don’t expect to swap life stories with whoever is on the other end of the phone.

Conclusions

Perfectly simple but brilliantly implemented, the WindowSeat Handsfree is a great solution for anyone wanting to connect their smartphone to their car stereo for music playback and hands free calling.

Audio quality for music outshines any device that uses an FM modulator to connect to your head unit, with this unit you essentially get the same quality that you would get from a direct iPod connection or from listening to your music via headphones.

The supplied lead/mic is useful for placing and accepting brief phone calls, but if you spend a lot of time on the phone while driving then an in-ear solution might be better for you.

Your experience will vary depending on the noise levels inside the car though, so if you have a more modern car (with better noise isolation) then you may find the sound quality from the mic perfectly adequate

Author

Matt

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