Messing around with fiddly buttons while driving is a nightmare, so Jabra has ensured that all the main controls are as simple as possible to use. For example, the front edge of the device acts as the main call control button so you just need to tap it once with your finger to pick up or drop a call. The older SP700 model also used this button as the on/off switch (you had to hold it down for several seconds), but thankfully the Cruise has a dedicated power switch on the left hand side, which makes it faster to turn it off and on.
The left hand side is also home to the FM button. When you press this, the Cruiser announces the frequency to tune your car radio to in order to feed audio from incoming calls or music from your handset through your car speakers. This frequency can be adjusted by holding down the volume up button. The Cruise will then search for another free frequency and announce when it’s found one via the built-in speaker. This makes the FM transmitter simple to setup and use, and the results are good too. It’s a real boon using your car’s speakers to listen to callers rather than the built-in speaker, and streamed music is also impressive (even though A2DP streaming is, by its nature, far from perfect given the limited bandwidth available).
Unlike that older model, the Cruiser now also supports AVCP on Bluetooth for controlling the playback of music tracks. The font face of the device has a play/pause button along with two track skip buttons. As long as your phone supports the Bluetooth AVCP protocol (the iPhone doesn’t because its Bluetooth support is one-step up from useless) you should be able to use them to control music playback from your handset. It certainly worked without any problems with a Nokia XpressMusic 5730.
The right hand side of the Cruiser is where you’ll find the easy to use volume rocker switch along with the mini-USB port that’s used for charging the device. Jabra includes a car power adaptor in the box, but you can also charge the device from a PC or laptop via USB. It takes around two hours to fully charge the speakerphone and once it’s full of juice you’ll get around 14 hours of talk time or 13 days on standby, which is similar to the previous S700 model.
Jabra has also added a few status indicator lights to the front of the unit to provide quick visual feedback on the device’s status. There’s a battery indicator, call status light, Bluetooth activity LED and indicator to show when the FM transmitter is active.