Review of the iCreation speeCup – SIRI/S Voice Activated Bluetooth Speaker
The iCreation speeCup is a Bluetooth speaker system that can play music from your Bluetooth phone and can serve as a hands-free phone system. It is SIRI/S Voice activated and features a gesture-control option that lets you make and answer calls without touching your phone or the speeCup. It also has an integrated microphone that can cancel background noise for clearer conversation.
Design and features
The iCreation speeCup is about the size and shape of a travel mug (8 inches tall). The exterior is made of durable plastic material. The speeCup has a micro USB charge port and an auxiliary audio output port on the back.
It features a rechargeable lithium ion battery advertised to give 20 hours of backup. You can connect the device to your car's auxiliary input or to your home stereo system.
The speeCup's main controls are on the top. You turn the outer ring to adjust the volume, press the ring's right or left side to start or stop your music, and press the answer phone button to answer an incoming phone call. Two buttons inside the ring let you skip to next or previous music tracks. One of the downfalls of speeCup is that its Power button is located on its bottom side. This forces the user to take the speeCup out of the cup holder to turn it on or off to save battery life when it is not in use.
The center button activates SIRI/S voice commands. Turning this feature on allows you to make or receive calls, or to play a specific music track just by speaking to it. You have to connect a phone that supports SIRI/S voice (such as an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy) to use this feature.
The most unique feature of the speeCup is its gesture control function. The speeCup has sensors on top that detect movement, so you can wave your hand over it to make music stop, play, or skip tracks. You can also wave your hand over the speeCup to answer an incoming call.
Two LED indicators below the buttons show the speeCup's battery and activity status. The microphone jack is located next to the LED indicators. The speeCup's microphone is capable of cancelling background noise, which helps the person on the other end of your call hear you loud and clear.
The speeCup has a Bluetooth range of 30 feet. It comes with three cables for charging and streaming audio to car and home audio systems. It is available in three colors: white, black, and red.
Putting it to use
We tested the speeCup separately with an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy S4 at the HomeGear Lab. Pairing it with the phones took less than a minute, and the phones automatically connected to speeCup, which saved some time. Once the phones were connected, it was easy to stream music and to make and answer calls.
The speeCup did surprisingly well with voice commands. It executed our voice commands correctly more than 90% of the time. The gesture control worked well too, but it took some getting used to. The sensors cannot properly recognize the gestures if your hand is too far away. (iCreation recommends keeping your hands about 2.4 inches from the top of the speeCup for optimal gesture control performance.)
The device's sound quality is good. It has a little dome that radiates the sound outwards, which gives a fuller sound and decent bass. However, since it is only a single speaker, you will not get stereo quality sound. On the positive side, voice quality during phone calls was more than satisfactory. On both ends, the voice was clear and loud with no background noise interference. There was no interruption, lag, or voice deterioration during calls.
One drawback was that it was hard to adjust the volume on the speeCup while driving. I had to grab the speeCup with one hand and rotate the volume control ring with another, which is less than ideal when you're driving. Another potential problem is the speeCup's size. It might be a little tall for some cars and could get in the way of the gearshift or other things. However, since most cars have multiple cup holder options, it should fit in most cars.
The speeCup is a convenient device that lets you navigate music tracks and make phone calls while driving. It supports voice activated commands for SIRI/S voice enabled phones. The speeCup provides great voice quality during phone calls and has decent sound quality for music. The battery backup is great. At $130, the speeCup is a little pricey, but it is of high quality. Therefore, HomeGear gives it its highest rating: 4 Lights On: Excellent and Highly Recommended.
• Integrated noise canceling microphone for hands-free communication
• Intuitive top mounted smartControl includes Gesture control
• Bluetooth range up to 30 feet
• Built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery for up to 20 hours of use
• Aux line-out jack for Bluetooth streaming audio to car and home audio systems