Review: Tekkeon myTalker
I’m cheap. There, I said it. As most people know, the only way to listen to music from the iTunes Music Store and have a mobile phone is either to spend quite a bit of money on a Motorola ROKR or SLVR from Cingular or have an iPod and a phone. Since I fall under the second camp, it just wouldn’t make sense to spend extra money switching carriers and getting a big contract, as well as paying for the actual phone and still being limited to having 100 songs on me at a time. The only downside to this is if I’m listening to the iPod, I might miss a call if the phone is in a coat pocket (vibrate and ringing aren’t noticeable in that situation), and I still have to fumble with removing an earbud to talk.
myTalker + iPod + T616
Recently I had the chance to try out a unique product, the Tekkeon myTalker, a $75 device that connects your Bluetooth-enabled phone and your iPod (or CD player or MP3 player) as best as it can.
The myTalker is a small device, about the size of the original iPod remote that looks relatively simple. A headphone jack at the top of it allows you to use your existing pair of headphones, while at the bottom there is a 3′ cable that would plug into the headphone jack of your audio device. On the front of the device is six buttons: Volume Up/Down, Mute, Add Caller, Talk, and Power. A lock is located on the side and works like a hold switch on any other device. A small microphone is also located at the top.
So, what does it do? Well, it basically turns your headphones into a Bluetooth headset. When you are on the phone, your audio device is muted (but not paused, since that’s not possible without utilizing more proprietary means). All the main features on a phone recreated on the myTalker, and if you’re phone has voice-activated dialing, you might not even need to dig your phone out to call someone.
Two LEDs on the unit indicate the status. A blue LED indicates that the myTalker is in standby mode, while an amber LED indicates charging.
After pairing the myTalker with our test phone, a Sony Ericsson T616, it worked like any other Bluetooth headset, although it obviously has a different shape. When you get a call, the myTalker will beep, and then you can use the buttons on the device to answer or reject the call.
Furthermore, many buttons do double-duty, although the availability of these depends on the handset. If you press the Talk button it will allow you to use voice-activated dialing. If you press and hold the Talk button the last number will be redialed. During a call, pressing the Talk button
will transfer the call to your handset. The Power button also acts as the button to pair, reject calls, and end a call. Other supported features from the myTalker unit include putting a call on hold, call waiting, and conference calls.
The myTalker includes a USB-to-mini-USB cable, similar to what comes with most digital cameras. A USB port on the bottom is used the charge the myTalker’s nonremovable lithium polymer battery. An AC adapter is not included, so one must use a computer, or separate AC-to-USB adapter. This is a negative if you only travel with your phone and other gadgets, but no laptop. The myTalker is advertised at having around 5 hours of talk time and 120 hours of standby. Without running up our minutes, this does seem to be the case. Although this amount isn’t spectacular, it’s still pretty good.
The only other gripe we have is that the clip to attach it to your shirt, jacket, or whatever is a bit awkward— having the microphone on a cable between the headphones and the actual myTalker might have made more sense, and then the myTalker can sit with the iPod.
Other than that, the myTalker is a very creative device that allows you to have an even better configuration than a dedicated musicphone. Furthermore, it doesn’t cost much more that some of the fancier Bluetooth headsets, meaning you can stay on the cheap side of things and still have convenience.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
If you’d like to keep your favorite Bluetooth phone and mix an iPod or MP3 player in the configuration, the myTalker is a really clever and slick device, despite a few shortcomings.
Pros: Simple set-up, quite a bit of control over the phone, seemingly sturdy build quality
Cons: Must charge with USB port and AC adapter not included, a bit hard to keep clipped on things