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Motorola Roadster vs. Motorola T505
on March 17, 2011
I own the newer Motorola Roadster and the slightly older Motorola T505. So it made sense to do a head-to-head comparison to see which unit is better.
Design: Both units are compact. The Roadster's layout is somewhat more appealing to my eye. The Roadster's controls are labeled and easy to find. They are also illuminated. The T505's controls are not as well labeled or illuminated, but it is easy to use nonetheless.
The T505 has a reversible mounting clip, so it can work with cars like my Audi, which have sun visors that swing from front-to-rear rather than the usual rear-to-front. Roadster's mounting clip is not reversible, so I must mount it backwards in order to use it. Once the unit is mounted backwards, throw those easy-to-read labels and icons out the window. The T505 is made from plastic. So is the Roadster, but it also is partially covered by a nylon or poly cloth material that could prove to be less durable. While the Roadster features a more updated look, the lack of a reversible mounting clip gives a slight advantage to the T505, as the Roadster is hard to use when mounted backward.
Pairing. Both bluetooth units pair very easily, but the advantage goes to the Roadster, which announces that it is ready to pair and then does so quickly. Things couldn't be much easier then that. But the T505 is also easy to pair, just not quite as easy as Roadster. Also, the Roadster turns itself on when you enter the car, which is nice. The T505 must be turned on manually.
I paired both units with a newer Palm Pixi Plus and a slightly older Palm Treo 755p. While Roadster initially paired with this somewhat older 755p, after a couple of days it would no longer pair. I tried everything I could think of and got to pair eventually, but it later developed the same problem, dropping pairing and then refusing to pair. The T-505 paired and remained connected without issues. While the Roadster pairs easier than the T505, I had no issues with the T505 and I had several problems with Roadster's pairing. Advantage: T505.
Streaming Music: Both units can stream MP3s from your cell phone through your car stereo. When advancing from one track to the next, Roadster required me to hold down the advance button for much longer than I'd like to, creating a distraction while driving. A single touch on that key pauses the music but it must be held down for awhile to advance the track. I had to hold the button down to the point where it was annoying. Also, the advance takes longer than I'd like and is accompanied by a very loud beep and then a clicking sound. Also, with Roadster, I cannot revert to the previously played track. With the T505, I simply click on the right side button to advance and the left side button to go back. Changes from track to track only require a short touch, the change is immediate and it is not accompanied by the obnoxious beep tone or clicking noise. Advantage T505.
Speakerphone: The Roadster's built in speakerphone is louder and clearer than the T505's. If you are using the speakerphone and not streaming to FM stereo, the advantage goes to the Roadster.
Output to FM stereo: Both units have similar output strength to FM. It could be better but both units are much better than a Jabra unit that I tested earlier. I'd consider the output to FM on both units to be on the better side of acceptable. Roadster can select a specific FM frequency that you'd like for the unit to broadcast on each time. The T505 cannot do this. T505 will automatically scan for a frequency and you can select a preferred frequency, but it will generally select whatever it likes. I'd probably call this a draw, although I do prefer Roadster's frequency-selecting ability.
Call quality: I spoke with my mother on the Roadster first and then with the T505. I was driving a convertible with the top up. The car is not noisy but is slightly more so than a hardtop vehicle. The Roadster's microphone was so sensitive that it was picking up much of the background noise and forcing the duplex to me even when I wasn't speaking. That meant that I couldn't hear much of what mom said because Roadster picked up the road noise and shut off mom's conversation. The T505 didn't have this problem. Big advantage T505.
Incoming calls: When an incoming call arrives, both units announce the caller's name and number, if available. Roadster allows you to say "answer" or "ignore". With the T505, you simply tap the telephone icon to answer. Slight advantage Roadster.
Texting: It's my understanding that Roadster can read back texts and allow you to reply to them. I did not test this function, but assuming it works properly, it seems like that would be an attractive feature for someone who texts a lot. Advantage Roadster.
The Winner: Of the two units, I prefer the T505. It's less fussy than Roadster. While Roadster's pairing failed several times, the T505 was always rock solid. Music streaming track advances were much quicker and smoother on the T505. The microphone was way too sensitive on Roadster, although this might not be a problem for those with a very quiet car.
Both are decent units, but I'm using the T505 daily while Roadster sits in its box. Roadster isn't bad, but I can't give it more than 3 stars based on my experiences.