Motorola Roadster Review

Introduction and Design
Introduction and Design:

Working on the road can easily take its toll on people, especially when you’re bogged down by incomprehensible conversations through your Bluetooth headset, but with the company of the Motorola Roadster, it can seemingly mend things in the car. After experiencing the respectable performance offered by the Motorola Command One and Finiti Bluetooth headsets, the speakerphone only Roadster just might continue Motorola’s roll in this space. Aside from providing the customary set of features, it also includes an FM transmitter to entertain you in the car without the need of having to upgrade your head unit. Packaged along with the Motorola Roadster are a car charger and Quick Start Guide.

Being squarer in shape than anything else, the Roadster boasts a modern design while still retaining the distinctive look of a portable speaker. Combining a contrasting black and silver exterior, the plastics in use feel durable enough to warrant a solid feel – while keeping it relatively light weight. Although both ends of the Roadster are curved to hug the contours of your car’s visor, it doesn’t particularly make the buttons found on the lower portion of the device visible to the driver’s vantage point.

Dominating a majority of its façade, we find its speaker hidden from view thanks to the fabric material lining the surface. However, we’d rather see some sort of plastic meshed grill to keep it well protected from the elements.

Physical buttons are built into the surface of both ends of the speaker, which doesn’t offer the best pronounced feel, but they’re labeled with their respective icons to differentiate them. You’ve got the mute, call, and voice command buttons on the end closest to you, while the play/pause, minus, plus, and FM buttons are located at the other end. With the plus and minus, they are used to change the volume, but at the same time, they change the station that its uses for the FM transmitter.

On the right edge of the Roadster, you’ve got the microUSB port tucked away, LED light indicators, and the power switch – we’re not too fond of the latter due to its degree of difficulty in feeling out. Lastly, the wire clip is already attached to the device, but it cannot be physically removed – thus being a bummer since it cannot be replaced if it’s broken.


Upon turning it on for the very first time, it automatically places itself into pairing mode, and we quickly connected it to an iPhone 4. Moreover, we also connected it simultaneously with a Samsung Intercept since it employs Multipoint technology. Somewhat surprising, the Motorola Roadster lacks any voice activated functions and relies on your phone’s built-in one for specific functionality – such as voice dialing or playing songs. Regardless, it downloaded our address book which allows it to announce callers by name.

Since it lacks any voice guidance functionality, it only announces its battery level upon start-up – with no other way to access it. And even though you can still do voice dialing through your phone’s native application, it doesn’t make for the best hands-free experience for handsets that lack any app. However, for those donning Android 2.2 devices, the Motorola Roadster can be supplemented with the MotoSpeak app which allows it to read out text message and reply back by speaking. In our testing, it managed to work almost flawlessly in announcing messages, but requires sharp annunciation to properly recognize words.

If there is something that the Motorola Roaster does extremely well, it has to be none other than emitting some boisterous and sharp tones. Even in combating the myriad of background noise experienced while driving, we were able to fully comprehend every single word to the teeth. However, adjusting the volume via the physical buttons on the Roadster requires a solid press in order to register; which can be rather distracting.

Meanwhile, the FM transmitter works exceptionally well as we easily got it to connect with our car’s stereo system. After finding an unused radio station, music played smoothly with little to no distortion while driving along in the car. Additionally, it’s able to maintain a reasonable level of output without much evidence of degradation.

As we mentioned already, the near deafening tones that the Roadster is capable of achieving makes every word uttered by our callers more than audible, but the same cannot be said at the other end of the line. It’s hard to believe that it packs dual-microphones for noise cancellation because our callers had an extreme amount of difficulty in hearing us. Specifically, they mentioned that we sounded as if we were far away from the device – plus, it picked up an abundant amount of background noise. Sadly, we’re rather perplexed by its quality in this particular category; especially when everything else seems to work out well.

For more than 2 weeks of normal usage, we’re content finding the Motorola Roadster still kicking along in the battery department at medium capacity. The manufacturer has it rated for 20 hours of talk and 3 weeks of standby time. Not only does the car charger allow you to keep the device tucked away in your car, but its battery savings mode kicks in after some period of inactivity.


Just when we were digging everything we’ve seen with the Motorola Roadster, its less than enticing calling quality with our callers actually made the experience with it very painful. More than that, it doesn’t quite embody some of the additional features gracing other models – like built-in voice control. And even though we enjoyed its tertiary feature of being an FM transmitter, it doesn’t necessarily make itself the most presentable hands-free tool out there in the market. At $99.99, it borders at the upper end of the spectrum, which should seriously make you think before considering its purchase..


  • Strong sounding speaker
  • Great battery life
  • FM transmitter functionality


  • Picks up too much background noise
  • No built-in voice control function

PhoneArena Rating:


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