You may've seen the slick television ad for Jupiter Jack. It gets across the point... don't be a distracted driver.
Tv pitchman Anthony Sullivan says this device is compact, portable, and will work with just about any cell phone...and he's right.
Several adapters are included so Jupiter Jack easily fit my i-phone. The small unit has an on/off switch and houses a dime-sized battery.
The directions are easy to follow. You tune your car radio to 99.3 or 101.3 FM, turn it on, and your voice is transmitted through Jupiter Jack's built-in microphone. You hear the person on the other end through your car speakers, making you hands-free.
I called the station and this is how it sounded: ""11 News. This is Tara." "Hey Tara, it's Betty again. How are you?" "Good, I can barely hear you." " So it's not any better?" "No, I feel like it's worse."
We made several calls using both FM frequencies and had to turn up the volume all the way to hear. Bottom line... Jupiter Jack works, but I had to shout to be heard and picked up a lot of static, especially near downtown Colorado Springs.
It was nothing like Anthony Sullivan's reception during his commercial demonstration.
TV Commercial: "Hey, it's Sully." "Hey Sully, it's Carla. I need you at the studio for a production meeting." "I'll be there in about 20 minutes."
To make sure our first device wasn't a dud, we exchanged it for a second Jupiter Jack and tried it in a different vehicle, but again encountered the same problems with volume and static."
Then we asked UCCS professor Mark Wickert with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department for his assessment.
He found... "This is jammed right in between some other strong FM stations so it's going to make it more subject to interference."
The upside triangle on the screen shows Jupiter Jack on an instrument called a spectrum analyzer. The sound quality was better in the lab than in the car, but we still couldn't get rid of the static.
Professor Wickert adds, "This device offers you two possible frequencies which is quite limiting. Supposed both of those are occupied by a radio station in our market."
The pitchman says you can spend up to $100 for a different technology called Blue Tooth... showing it can be complicated and uncomfortable, but a trip to the Car Toys store revealed several alternatives.
A Blue Tooth headset was priced the same as the Jupiter Jack, $20 and a portable Blue Tooth car kit was $30.
Car Toys sells more expensive devices, but we found comparably-priced products with employees in town to help you out.
Based on that and the blogs of several unhappy Jupiter Jack customers, we don't believe Jupiter Jack is the most convenient.
We also called the company to report the problems and was told the only technical assistance we could get is a website called www.jupiterjackhelp.com Even following the instructions there, didn't help with static or volume issues.
The device is definitely among the cheapest, but not the best. Our advice... shop around.