- Review Price: £79.99
Convergence is a popular thing in technology. Mobile Phones, for example, are slowly working away at becoming fully fledged mobile computers, capable of delivering email, surfing the “full Internet”, as some people like to describe it, and guiding you to your desired location using GPS. It is part of the reason why we have a Mobile Devices section, since so many of the phones released can now be considered much more than that. Of course, this is just one example, but another smaller scale example is the thoroughly wonderful Venturi Mini.
It’s one of those products that instantly bypasses the cynical, gnarled and generally questioning part of your brain and skips straight to the warm and fuzzy “Oooh, isn’t that a good idea?” section that’s normally reserved for neat gadgets and cute animals – i.e. Seals, Labrador puppies, that sort of thing. In short, it has that perfect gadget appeal and that’s no bad thing.
Ostensibly an in-car hands-free device, the Venturi Mini utilises the obligatory Bluetooth and combines it with an FM Transmitter. To begin with this makes it incredibly easy to install and use immediately. A small and smartly designed unit, the Venturi Mini plugs directly into any 12v in-car power socket – or cigarette lighter to us (reformed) sinners – enabling a truly wireless hands-free system, with the FM Transmitter used to transmit audio from the phone to the in-car audio system.
This combination of FM Transmitter and Bluetooth also opens up another avenue, namely as a wireless music system. A wired audio input means you can connect your MP3 player, while there’s also support for AVRCP and A2DP Bluetooth audio profiles for use with any music phone that supports them. In addition, there’s also a USB port on the side of the unit, which can be used to charge phones, MP3 players and any device that can charge via USB – Venturi even sells phone adapters for this purpose.
Thus, what you have in the Venturi Mini is an all-in-one in-car charger, wireless music and hands-free system in a device that weighs just 63g and can be setup and ready to use within in a minute. It’s an elegant idea and one that’s carried out very well, albeit with a few issues.
Before we get onto those, though, let’s take a closer look at the device itself. Straightaway it gives you a sense of confidence, with a smart and nicely proportioned all black casing that oozes a sense of quality. This is reinforced by a strong hinge mechanism and an adjustable plug that allows for the differences in sockets and helps maintain a secure connection. In design terms it ticks all the boxes and clearly some serious thought has gone into the potential shortcomings of the device.