Review: Motorola Roadster 2 offers handy extra features
At a Glance
I grew up in a city rife with crime. And to this day, I avoid leaving anything in my car, including doodads on my visor. When testing the $100 Roadster 2 then, I had to remember to tote large purses daily, as the unit’s design with a jutting-out clip did not glide nicely into my compact handbags, along with my regular bric-a-brac.
The Roadster 2 includes a pre-affixed clip, which I squeezed on––and tugged off––my visor, when getting in and out of my car. I am not complaining: Even though it required a bit of effort to attach or remove the thing, the Roadster 2’s clip is vise-like––similar to its predecessor, the Roadster.
The Roadster 2‘s controls are decently spaced out in rows at the top and the bottom of the unit. All the buttons, like Mute and Voice Dial, sport ridges. However, when keeping my eyes on the road, these ridges had no perceptible differences so I fumbled around initially until I got my bearings. Another quibble: The buttons delivered timid feedback when tapped.
Voices coming into the car sounded clear, but speakerphone-ish––and muffled at times. On the receiving end, people moaned about my voice sounding too far away, too “metallic,” and occasionally choppy. On the other hand, the Roadster 2 minimized background noise, most of the time. Plus, switching my phone’s audio into stereo, using the FM transmission button, worked fine––but I had to pull over to set this up each time.
My MotoSpeak, Motorola’s free smartphone app, lets you listen to incoming text messages and create your own. I was pleasantly surprised: The Roadster 2 did an excellent job of converting the text messages I blabbed aloud into text––reading them back to me first before sending; the handful of errors were inconsequential. Again, I chose to test the messaging portion only when I stopped my car.
Lastly, Motorola’s new Car Finder app had me scratching my head. The free app, which saves your location when you disconnect your phone from the Roadster 2, will lead you right to your vehicle, displaying a map, if you forget where you parked. I haven’t been in that situation (yet). But when I tested the app, I happened to be in an area without a GPS signal, so I had the option to take a photo and record a voice memo. It all worked as advertised.
My memory, when it comes to parking spots, is probably no better or no worse than the next driver’s. But I can only envisage Car Finder’s usefulness for drivers who frequent humongous parking lots regularly––at airports, sporting events, or concerts, say––or for those whose parking-spot memory is shot.