Do you Bluetooth? I must admit, until only a few weeks ago, I did not have a Bluetooth for talking on the phone while driving. Yes, I know that Illinois requires a hands-free device while using the phone in the car. But, you know me: I’m a rebel who won’t be held back by The Man. Okay, perhaps not. The truth is, I never got around to buying a Bluetooth. And while I tried to avoid talking on the phone while driving, of course I ended up doing it sometimes. Who doesn’t? The truth is, moms of school-age kids spent a lot of time in the car. And since our plans are constantly changing, we end up discussing spur-of-the-moment playdates, the latest babysitter crisis or what do to about the debt ceiling while driving.
But now, your Honor, I renounce my past law-breakin’ ways. A few weeks ago, I was invited to a lovely lunch at the W Hotel Lakeshore by Jabra, makers of wireless headsets and speakerphones. The people from Jabra, who had flown in from Denmark (!) for this occasion gave a genuinely informative presentation to the assembled group of busy and tech-savvy moms about how their in-car speakerphones would allow us to use all that time spent in the car productively while staying safe.
The very same week that I attended the Jabra Mobile Moms lunch, my family was hit with a genuine emergency. My parents were in one place, my brother was in another and I was in yet another. We needed to talk frequently and often urgently. All of a sudden, I was having extremely important conversations with my family on the phone while dropping off my kids at the various friends who had kindly offered to entertain them. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that my brand-new Jabra Cruiser2 got quite a work-out.
In fact, my Jabra Bluetooth was so helpful, that I gave my mother the Jabra Freeway in-car speakerphone for her many lengthy car trips. She was concerned at first that she and I wouldn’t be able to install a complicated device in her car. I’d be concerned about that too. But the Jabra Bluetooths don’t require any installation. You just pair it to your phone — which is incredibly simple — clip it to your sun visor and go. Like me, my mom was using her Jabra Bluetooth the first day she got it. It is a small thing, but these devices have been very helpful in this crisis.
I have to tell you about one really cool feature of my Jabra Cruiser2: it has something called A2DP, which sounds like a Star Wars character. But basically it means that you can stream music or podcasts from your phone to the Bluetooth speakers or to your car stereo. I love to listen to podcasts of the NPR radio show “Fresh Air” on my iPhone. (And now several people will leave comments telling me how lame that is.) But the sound quality on the phone is so poor that I can barely hear the podcast if I’m playing it in car. Now I can download the podcast to my iPhone and hear it loud and clear through the Bluetooth speaker while I’m driving. Again, it’s a small thing, but if it makes all those trips in the car go a little quicker, it is worth it.
The lovely people at Jabra gave me three of their in-car speakerphones to try. I kept one; I gave one to my mom and now I am giving one to a West of the Loop reader. No reason for me to be greedy! If you would like to win the Jabra Drive Bluetooth, which retails for $59, leave a comment to this post by midnight, Sunday August 7 telling me what you like to listen to in the car. NPR? Soft rock? 90′s gangster rap? No judgments here. I will select a winner at random. You can earn additional entries by 1) following me on Twitter; 2) by Tweeting about this contest with a link back to this post or 3) by linking to this post on your blog or your Facebook page. Just be sure to leave me a comment letting me know that you did so.
Full disclosure time: I was a guest at a luncheon hosted by Jabra and received three Jabra Bluetooth in-car speakerphones at that event. I was not asked to post about the event, host a giveaway or review any product. As I have explained, I have used my Jabra Bluetooth and found it to be an excellent product. All opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.
I would also like to thank everyone who sent me good wishes during my family’s recent medical emergency. I apologize for canceling the canning demonstration class at the River Forest Whole Foods. We will reschedule it for September.