Full voice control of a wide range of handsets via a handsfree Bluetooth connection is one of Blue&Me’s core features. Exactly how well it works will vary according to your make and model of handset.
Although the initial pairing process with an LG Viewty went smoothly, the system wasn’t able to automatically pull the phone’s address book. That means contacts must be individually pushed via Bluetooth. Fine for a handful of key contacts, not so great if you want your entire contact base uploaded.
Unfortunately, our 500 test car refused to accept even pushed contacts from the LG handset. That prevented us from testing the voice command system which allows you to vocally select contacts by name. However, we can confirm that dialling full numbers with the voice command system was a pleasant surprise. Numbers recited with conversational, fluid enunciation are accurately recognised. Mistakes are few and far between.
Another of Blue&Me’s nattier features is the ability to read your text messages out loud. User reports indicate that support for various handsets with this feature is patchy. Nokia and SonyEricsson appear to give the best results, the iPhone and handsets based on Windows Mobile (ironically) are apparently less consistent.
Predictably, the LG Viewty we used to test the 500 also refused to play ball with this feature. On the one hand, it’s a tall order to expect Fiat to ensure the system works with the enormous range of mobile phones currently available. On the other, the value of the feature is greatly reduced if it only works properly with a minority of handsets. Ultimately, if you want to ensure you get the most out of the Blue&Me, you may well have to change your handset.