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REVIEW: ORA Original Car Kit for Orange SPV
Posted by Arne Hess - on Wednesday, 14.05.03 - 17:33:05 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 12046x
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The Ora Original Car Cit for Orange's SPV is a complete car kit which allows hands free talking.

It contains a control box, the cradle for the phone, an external speaker, a uni-directive microphone, an external magnet antenna as well as several cables, fuses, fixing screws and a user guide.

To see the full package and detailed information about the Car Kit, see also my preview here.

To keep the warranty alive, Ora recommends an installation by a professional and authorized garage. Also, because my car is still pretty new and full of Airbags, I've decided to get it installed by my Audi garage instead of doing it myself.

Before the Ora SPV Car Kit was installed, my previous car kit had to be removed. However, because the microphone and external speaker was already installed, we've decided to use that one instead of the original Ora micro and speaker. This required some modifications on the connectors because the Nokia car cit uses different connectors then the Ora kit but wasn't as hard to change. However, this prevented us to remove and repass all cables again.

The Cradle
Also, because the Airbag functionalities and a smoother look, I've decided not to use the included dash mount, attached to the cradle, but mounted the cradle directly on the bracket.

The Microphone and Speaker
The micro is installed in the middle, between the driver's and co-driver's seat while the speaker is installed in the footwell.

The Antenna
As with the microphone and the speaker I've also decided not to use the magnet antenna but the one which was already installed for the previous car kit.

The ORA Car Kit compared with a Nokia Car Kit
Both car kits has the same size

The car kit work as you can expect that a car kit works. As soon as you plug-in the Smartphone into the cradle, it is recharged by the battery as well as it gets connected to the external antenna. From now also the external microphone and speaker are activated and used.

The SPV recognizes the car kit and switches automatically form any used profile to the car profile.

Unfortunately the SPV, or better the Smartphone platform in general, seems not to be designed to be used in conjunction with a car kit. So the screen turns off after the general predefined time as well as all lights switches off. This means in the darkness that you have first to press a key to get the phone switched on again. The SPV doesn't support different profiles, for instance one for battery and one for external power usage, like even Pocket PCs supports. Therefore you are not able define different backlight and screensaver settings if the SPV is used with a car kit.

Final Conclusion

The Ora Car Kit for the Orange SPV is a fine piece of work which stores the SPV perfect. It's easy to use and both, the Orange SPV (HTC Canary) and HTC Tanager (Smart Amazing Phone) fit proper into the cradle. The speaker volume is amazing loud. You are even able to understand your partner if you drive the highway with 180 KM/h but it doesn't distort the voice of your counterpart. You can pump up or reduce the loudspeaker volume by using the two volume buttons on the side of the phone. The external loudspeaker is also used to notify you about incoming calls and SMS and MMS messages.
The only disappointment might be the missing "Radio Mute" feature. This means that the car kit doesn't turns off your radio; if you get or establish a call and requires you to turn off the volume of the radio by hand.

Overall the car kit can be really recommended, not only because of most laws in the world requires the use of a car kit now but also because it's more convenient to make calls without any headset wires and also because your Smartphone is charged during your ride.

A little bit more disappointing is that the Smartphone platform doesn't seem to support car kits in a proper manner. That the display and key backlight switches off after some seconds and anytime later the display completely disappears is a great feature to save battery while the Smartphone is used without any external power. However, that this happens also if the phone is connected to an external power source, doesn't matter if it is your cradle on your desk or a car kit is out of all reason and I hope Microsoft will fix this with a later version anyhow. However, right now I'm talking with some developers to get this fixed.

Anyway, I truly enjoy the Ora Car Kit. I'm using car kits for my mobile phones since 1993 now and I missed this feature during the past months, when I used the SPV only. Now, with the Ora car kit, I'm back with an always charged battery as well as making phone calls becomes more convenient again. It's simply working great and you will not see a real difference to other car kits from Nokia and other old fashion cell phone makers.

And last but not least, this car kit looks really good, I don't wanted to waste the look and feel of my car and I haven't since it looks like a car kit should looks like: serious and solid!

The Original SPV Car Kit is available exclusive from Ora UK for £149.99. International delivery is possible but you might ask Ora first at the PPCW.Net Support Forum.

Cheers ~ Arne

Related Links : [More Information] [Buy Here] [Ora Forum @ PPCW.Net]


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Posted by Orneta support on 14.05.03 - 20:05:30

You mentioned, that "the display and key backlight switches off after some seconds". Please note however, that Orneta Tester has such a feature: "Keep backlight on". If you turn keeping backlight on, and then switch, through home button, to other applications or to home screen, then you will have backlight and display ON all the time! So just use Orneta Tester and your problem with disappearing display and backlight (in your car kit) will be solved!

Posted by Arne Hess on 14.05.03 - 20:12:01

@Orneta: Hey, sounds like a good idea/workaround. Does it also prevents from starting the screensaver/switching off the complete screen?

Posted by Orneta Support on 14.05.03 - 20:18:44

Yes - we tested it on Orange SPV - and the backlight and display stay for ever (or until you press "stop keeping backlight on"). Just give it a try yourself! Quality of our software is very important to us, so the more testing the better ;-)

Posted by Arne Hess on 15.05.03 - 10:39:20

@Orneta: Sorry, for any reason "Keep Backlight On" doesn't work on my Orange SPV :roll: If I press the menu item, nothing happens!?

Posted by Orneta support on 15.05.03 - 11:57:12

Nothing happens? It is because you have to go to the menu: Menu / Utilities / Keep backlight on and then (!!!!) you have to press 4 or 5 or 6 keys to get at the top a text "Keeping backlight is ON!" - if you have there the text ""Keeping backlight is OFF!" it means that you have not pressed the keys yet...

Posted by Arne Hess on 15.05.03 - 12:03:22

@Orneta: Aaahhh :!::idea: That was the key to success... ;-) Sorry, was my fault... :roll:

Now it works! big_smile

Posted by Wobbs on 03.06.03 - 21:52:35

Have to say im a little disapointed about the lack of the ability to use a slave handset, which the nokia full hands free kit had and was usefull for my passengers if they wanted to discuss issues not for everyone in the car, stillI suppose they can take the phone out of the crade I guess -

not to sure about the comparable quality when compared to my last full nokia kit though

its a start and the network the SPV hangs off ( who i work for ) wont be taking them back off everyone now, as was originally proffesed, to avoid any potential breaches of the law wink

Posted by Paul on 07.06.03 - 14:27:00

The main control unit seems to be a 'standard' unit - not specifically designed for the SPV. Has anyone got any more technical info on this unit. I would like to get this working with my car audio system. My existing Nokia kit mutes the car audio and then uses the audio system for the duration of the call. This feature will be missed when I install my SPV kit sad

Posted by Sukh on 08.06.03 - 17:51:29

I have just installed my kit today, after removing my Nokia Kit out.. I really had to take the old out and replace with the new. Was easy to do as it's pretty standard.. but i also have the problem about the Radio Mute.. Having spent a fortune ona Stereo system with Radio Mute and another bunch of monies for this kit... should it not come with a Standard Radio mute option. Seeing the control(i.e. Power Cable connection) into the control box.. i see a number of pins.. but only 3 wires come out of it.. the Read/Black and the yellow wires.. surely one of those pins must be able to sort out the radio mute.. Has anyone got the details of the electronics within the control box... As Paul mentioned above... the box looks standard.. i think it should just be a case of hooking a wire to one of the pins...but don't want to do it unless someone really knows stuff about this box....

Posted by Dean Morgan on 13.09.03 - 20:18:37

Have you gone for the option where the sound comes out the existing speakers in your car????

Posted by lowbug on 19.09.03 - 20:16:12

I have the same issue no mute wire? What is the point of not including it :grr:  Very annoying. Open it and you find a spare relays one for the speakers (why? once you make a call it keep the realy open doh.. ) and one for something else? I can't help but wonder what the other relay is for... I will find a solution what annoys me is i have to pay even more to stay safe. Bad move orange...

Posted by ALEXANKO on 27.09.03 - 15:33:24

Hello !

I'm interested in buying the ORA original car kit. However, I'm living in France and have a few questions :

1 Is it compatible with SPV 100 ?

2 What is the final price ? (delivery taxes, shipping included) ?

Posted by Andreas Hasler on 01.10.03 - 15:41:30


I have installed the ORA car kit. The installation of the car kit was made by a specialized company. At the beginning it worked fine. No when I put the phone the profile switch to "auto", I here the "bep". When I now try to digit a number i first here the key sound, but after 2 or 3 digits the sound dissapiers. It´s like when the car kit would have not enough power. The company which installed the car kit, has no idea.

Can you help me. Do you have a support adress (Email).

Best regards,

Andreas Hasler

Posted by Arne Hess on 01.10.03 - 16:22:15

@Andreas: Hmmm... Sounds weird... :?:

In any case I've forwarded your comment to Ora and I suggest to use the Ora Forum here at PPCW.Net too instead of adding your comment to my review only.

The Ora Support forum is also monitored by the Ora folks but I'm sure you will hear from then soon by E-Mail as well!

Posted by Allan Hvass on 16.10.03 - 22:23:02

Just got the ORA car kit installed today. However, I'm quite disappointed in the volume level of the speaker, it doesn't sound very loud to me, and I have trouble using driving on the motorways. Could your sound be louder because you used the speaker from your existing kit?

A question: How did you remove the dash mount and still be able to attach the screws to secure the car kit? I wanted to do this as well, but couldn't find a way to do it. The screws come in on the back of the car kit, can your bracket be separated to allow that?

Finally, like everyone else, I HATE the fact that this doesn't support radio mute (so I could use the existing speakers), and that the light in the SmartPhone will turn off. Aware of the Orneta test kit, but that's an awful lot of keys to press for something that should be automatic. Wish someone would create a one-button press app that did this.


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