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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Feb 9, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

HANDS FREE By Harold Osmer

Cardo S-800

Come July 1, 2008, drivers in California will be subjected to ticketing for talking on a hands-on cell phone while their car is in motion. The idea is that with both hands on the wheel, there will be fewer accidents. This assumes of course that the free hands are not being used for some other nefarious purpose such as holding a cheeseburger. Cell phones are here to stay and those who refuse to join in are finding their minority status growing every day. It took me awhile to finally give in about two years ago. I'm no Luddite, but the idea that someone should be able to get a hold of me at any given time of day struck me as odd and unnecessary. I never argued about the handiness or convenience of the device, I just never figured I was that important. Gadget geeks soon discovered that hands-free devices could add a new dimension to their wander talking habits. Wireless earpieces connected via Bluetooth technology (whatever that is) allow folks to talk to the world without having to hold anything. We've all seen hands-free pieces hanging off the ears of people seemingly talking to themselves in stores, on the street or at work. To date, the earpiece looked obtrusive and, I thought, bothersome. The good folks over at Cardo Systems have been in the hands-free business since 2001 and wanted to send their new Cardo S-800 over to us at LA Car for review. I drew the assignment for obvious reasons (see attitude above). The S-800 measures just 1.5 x .75 inches and weighs 0.38 ounces. Yes, it is very light. The ear loop allows for right or left ear placement and a variety of sliding adjustments to fit anybody comfortably. A rechargeable lithium polymer battery holds charge for 8 hours of talk time and up to a week on standby. Wall or USB recharging options are standard. Setting up the S-800 for use was a snap. After charging, I ran the ear loop through a small inlet and I was ready to go. My cell phone option list provided a switch for Bluetooth capability and it recognized the Cardo S-800 immediately. Speaking on the phone without it in my hand was harder to get used to than having something hanging off my ear. Out of habit, I still feel the need to be holding something. Beyond that, the device is simple to use. A soft touch of the unit will answer or end a call, touching a small button auto-dials up to three selected numbers, and both speaking and listening quality are indistinguishable from that found when actually holding the cell phone in hand. Ambient noise is not transmitted to the person on the other end. And I can turn off the blinking LED to keep from attracting stares. After talking with people on the street with a variety of devices, their most common comments were about weight and clumsiness issues. These were not issues with the S-800. I found Cardo's ear loop easy to adjust. Combined with the S-800's light weight, I hardly notice the piece at all. Especially when wearing my sunglasses for daytime driving. I am self-conscious of the geek-look I put off when wearing the S-800, but the usefulness and utility of the device cannot be argued against. Expect to spend about $75 for one of these babies. Well worth the price. And when July rolls around, you'll have saved yourself a ticket. - Harold Osmer, Review Editor SIDEBAR COMMENT The Cardo S-800 makes it so easy to talk on the cell phone with both hands free, and without the bother of wires dangling from the earpiece. It's going to transform the way people talk on the phone. It'll also make the appearance of talking to yourself socially acceptable - a big break for those of us who engaged in this activity prior to the era of hands-free wireless units. - Roy Nakano SUMMARY JUDGMENT A good way for drivers to stay legal in California while operating the cell phone. For more information about Cardo wireless products, go to SPECIFICATIONS Name of device: Cardo Systems S-800 Bluetooth Headset Talk time: up to 8 hours Standby time: one week Weight: 10.9 gr. / 0.38 oz. Battery type: rechargeable Li-Po Charging time: approximately 2 hours Volume up and down: 8 levels, 20 dB range Temperature range: 32° F to 122° F (0° C to 50° C) Mini-USB charging jack: allows charging from wall outlet or PC/Laptop (USB charging cable included) Audio Features: High end speaker for superior audio performance Noise reduction technology Speaker booster Superior acoustic technologies Additional Package Contents: Ear-loop, lanyard Universal travel charger 110/240V 50 / 60 Hz Quick-Start Guide Functions and Profiles* Voice dial supported Handsfree and Headset Profiles supported Last-number redial Call waiting Conference call Call reject S-800 Headset Special Features: Hot dialing (store 3 speed-dial numbers) Large control button Call back button (calls back last incoming caller) Missed call indicator SWAP Technology: Toggle between two active phones Headset location Buzzer Battery Status indicator Turn LED on/off Volume wheel adjustable for right or left ear wear Digital button lock Multi-pairing: up to 8 devices Auto answer option Chip and Battery Bluetooth® version 2.0 Chip manufacturer: Cambridge Silicone Radio (CSR) Battery type: rechargeable Li-Po

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