CODA One Hands-free Speakerphone

Print

Product: CODA One
Provided By: bCODA
Price: ~$79.99 Online

Introduction:

A couple of weeks ago, we took a look at the bCODA Jak Multishare USB device.  Today we are looking at another product from this company.  We have the CODA One on our bench today and are looking at this "Ultimate Mobile Companion".  The One is an interesting product as it can be used as a wireless handset, a hands-free speaker phone for your car or office as well as a Bluetooth speaker system.  We will find out today how well it performs these tasks as we find out of the CODA One is the right one for you.

Box Front
Box Front

Box Back
Box Rear

 

About bCODA:

 

bCODA embodies our passionate drive toward creating new demand and value through innovative products.  It also serves as a constant reminder for us to look back on our humble beginnings. Embedded in the name is our commitment to accepting no complacency and mediocrity in any way, shape, or form.
 
When we first set out to produce wireless accessory devices for mobile phones, our primary focus was placed on creating consumer value through innovative products, simple in user interface and experience, yet powerful in performance. As our product lineup diversified, however, we found ourselves fixated on adding more functionality and complexity to the existing products. It could not be further away from our true spirit. It was about time we looked back on ourselves and returned to our original initiative of creating new demand and value through innovation. We have thus launched our new brand, bCODA, and it is the epitome of staying true to our commitment.
 
At Enustech, innovation is in our DNA. With bCODA’s spirit as a beacon, we will not hesitate to go back to basics and spur innovation. It is our pledge to the consumers that bCODA’s products will be of the highest quality in consumer value, bar none.

Box Open

First Look:

The CODA One comes in a nice tidy package that is easy to open and gives you a chance to take a good look at the actual product before you spend your money on this device.  The One comes with everything you need for home, office and other portable use.  In the package is the device itself, a magnetic clip for your visor.  This clip also doubles as a stand for office use.  Also in the package is a Cigarette Plug adapter that has a standard USB port on it as well as a USB-to-microUSB cable.  Those items, combined with a quick user guide wrap up everything that is in the package.

Bundle

Once again, the CODA One seems to be another well-built device from bCODA and it feels pretty solid in the hand and it should be able to survive a few bumps and bruises along the way.  The clip on the One is magnetic and it seems to hold pretty solid and it shouldn't fall off of your visor randomly.  I used the clip to attach the CODA One to several different visors as well as other pieces of hardware around the office here and it seemed to work well.  Additionally, you can use the clip as a stand and set the One pretty much anywhere you have a flat surface.

alt

As we take a tour around the One, we have a look at a few of the buttons and such found on the device.

Volume Side
Volume Side

Switch Side
Switch Side

MicroUSB Port
MicroUSB Port

The CODA One has stereo speakers and dual microphones that help in noise reduction.  On the front it has some indicator lights as well as a Speaker-phone button for answering calls.  One the side are volume buttons (up and down) as well as a handset button that allows you to answer your phone and use the CODA One like a traditional phone handset.  This is an interesting idea for sure, but if you have to pick up and hold the One, I'm not sure why you wouldn't just pick up your phone and talk on it like normal.  On the side opposite the volume buttons is a micro-USB port that is covered with a plug.  Thankfully, this is a standard charger and you probably already have one of these cables kicking around.

On the next page we'll take a look and the features and specifications before we carry on through this review.

 


Features:

As we take a look at what the CODA One promises and what it does, we will copy and paste information from the product page for your convenience.  As always, make sure to check out the manufacturer's site for all the updated information.  Below is just a brief overview to get you started.

CODA One is the simple wireless solution for all your audio needs. Bluetooth technology allows it the versatility for hands-free communication and a portable stereo speaker.

 

Inteligent Voice Service
The CODA One is a Bluetooth handset for smartphones. The slim and sleek CODA One can also double as a portable speaker for music from other Bluetooth-related audio devices. When built-in speakers aren’t enough, the CODA One is the lightweight solution.

CODA One Specification:

 
Bluetooth V 3.0 / EDR compliant
RF power Class 2
Profile HFP, HSP, PBAP, A2DP
Mode Handset, Hands-Free, Stereo Speaker
Acoustic Quality Full duplex, Noise reduction, Echo cancellation
Advanced UI Dual Mic. Wideband audio
Multi Pairing Up to 8
Multi Point
Power Li-poly battery
Talk time 20 hrs
Stand by time 40 days
Firmware Upgrade via USB
Etc. Micro USB I/O

Fron
Front

On the next page, we'll take a look at pairing, usage and some final thoughts.

 


Pairing and Initial Setup:

The CODA One can be put into pairing mode with the MFB button on the front of the device.  Once you hear the voice announce "Pair Mode" you can pair the device with up to eight devices.  You can remain connected to multiple devices at once.  This is true multi-point and although it seems like it could get a little confusing, it seems to work and balance well.  When you get a call coming in from your secondary device, it mutes your previous connected device and switches to the current active device.

 

Testing the CODA One:

I've used the CODA One quite a bit over the past few weeks - instead of using an in-ear headset, I've been using this.  There is something positive to be said about a non-wearable hands-free kit.  The One is quite clear and has plenty of volume for the listener as well as pretty decent microphone quality with the noise cancellation.  This Digital Signal Processing helps keep the microphone clear in most situations.  Even when riding in a large MACK truck, I could still carry on a conversation with someone - although it wasn't too clear on their end.  Noise Cancellation can only do so much.

In the grand scheme of things - most consumers live in an urban world and in this world the CODA One does quite well.  It has very good voice quality on the receiving end and when you consider that it also supports A2DP profiles, you can use this as a Bluetooth speaker system.  This is where things get a little shaky.  You can use the One to stream podcasts, music and movies from your phone - and while the One is much louder than your phones built-in speakers, the quality of the audio at loud volumes is a little less than awesome.  In fact, it's a whole lot less than awesome.  The audio quality for anything other than spoken word (phone calls, audio books & podcasts) is not great.  Although it supports "wideband audio", the small speakers in the CODA One are a little too anemic to perform well.

The beauty of the CODA One is that it can connect to eight devices.  This sounds extreme, but when you consider that you can connect to a couple of phones, a tablet or two, the kids iPod Touch, a GPS, Laptop and more - you will find that you'll use up quite a few slots in the devices list.  This is good news as you won't have to re-pair with a device because the list is full.

Sound Quality:

Regardless of the functionality and features of a hands-free kit, all would be totally lost if it didn't sound good.  While I don't expect this to be hi-fi by any means, the voice quality should be clear without undue hissing or popping.  The One has very sound quality and I could hear voices clearly and distinctly when driving down a quiet highway.  Even on a noisy road, the One performed very well in most situations.  On the microphone side of things, it is a similar story.  The microphone seems to work well and pick up voices nicely on quiet roads, even on noisy roads the CODA One holds up pretty well.

Take a listen to some of the features of the CODA One and call quality here.

 

Range & Battery Life:

bCODA claims the Bluetooth V 3.0 standard will provide range of up to 10m (33ft.).  This seems to be pretty standard and the One lived up to those claims.  I used the One in many situations and the range seems to be pretty standard.  Unless you have a very large vehicle - or a lead-lined tank, you shouldn't have any trouble keeping your phone in your briefcase or backpack and still be able to use the CODA One.  The battery life is very good and I've used it to listen to audio books and music streamed from my Galaxy Nexus.  From my experience, this is very close as the kit has only been charged a few times over many hours of talk time and weeks of standby.  Charging the hands-free kit only takes a couple of hours and this allows you to get back into your wireless zone quickly.  Also keep in mind that 20 hours of talk time is a LONG time and even with heavy use and media streaming, the One should last you several days.  If you're a light user, the standby time of 40 days will blow your mind and you may only be charging this unit a dozen times a year.

 

Conclusion:

This is the first Bluetooth hands-free kit we've looked at from bCODA and in many ways I'm impressed.  The One has a lot of features that include a traditional hands-free car kit, but they up the ante with stereo Bluetooth audio streaming as well as a Bluetooth handset.  Again, I'm not sure why you'd grab this and talk on this over your phone, but the option is there.  There are no voice commands built into this device as there are with some products from other companies - such as BlueAnt, but this unit is still very simple to use.  The audio quality of both the microphone and the speakers are more than adequate for voice communication but aren't that impressive at all when it comes to music and movie playback.  The speakers are simply too small for robust sound.

That being said, the volume and quality will likely exceed that of most smartphones - and in fact, this unit could be very handy when traveling and spending a night on the road.  Still, with as much hype as bCODA had regarding music playback, I'd hoped for something a little more impressive in this department.  

At the end of the day, the build quality is decent and the feature list will get you by for sure.  While there are a few issues with sound quality, it's not a bad unit for the price and is worth considering if you are looking for a multi-purpose device that will help you communicate and be entertained while on the road.

Pros:

  • Stereo speakers and dual mics offer decent sound quality
  • Pair with up to eight devices
  • Good range
  • Firmware upgradeable
  • Lots of features for a speaker phone

 

Cons:

  • Music audio quality is not great
  • No controls for play/pause, forward/rewind on A2DP devices
  • Clip can pop off and cause the CODA One to fall

 

 

Silver

 

I'd like to thank bCODA for sending over the One for us to review.  Please feel free to post your thoughts, comments and questions regarding this product in our forum at the link below.