Make Your Smartphone a Better Walkie Talkie
Do you want to really make your Smartphone a better walkie talkie? These are some “improvements” you can make to your phone to improve your PTT experience.
Most of these devices I have bought and tested and they are chosen for their quality and suitability to be used on the go as a Walkie Talkie Accessory. However, I have not tested them across diffferent Walkie Talkie Apps so do let me know if these works for you.
PTT Bluetooth Buttons
“With Walkie Talkie Apps, the user has to do a few more steps like unlocking the phone, finding the app to open and the person to talk to before they can start PTT”
The core experience and value of a Walkie Talkie is that it should be fast. Fast also means how convenient you can start the PTT or respond to an incoming PTT.
On a walkie talkie, to talk, a simple push of a button is all that is. There is no other work or thinking required. But with Walkie Talkie Apps, the user has to do a few more steps like unlocking the phone, finding the app to open and the person to talk to.
That is why Walkie Talkie Apps have included support for Bluetooth Buttons.
Bluetooth buttons allow you to push a button to start the PTT without the need to touch your phone. This allows you to skip the phone unlock step. The buttons also improve accessibility because you can put the bluetooth button anywhere. Good spots include the steering wheel or clipped to your front pocket.
Pressy & their Clones
A Real PTT button using your earphone jack
Pressy is a earphone jack button that allows you to press it and have the phone activate some function. Usually you will make it activate PTT via a setting on your walkie talkie app.
You can get it and its companion app to have a real PTT key at your earphone jack. Some configuration is required on the app but once you are setup, the key works even when the phone is locked.
With the tactile feel, it is also easy to locate the button and feel that the button press has happened.
If you forget to activate the app after inserting the Button, you might start missing messages, notifications and calls though. So do set them up properly.
Depending on the phone you have, you might find that you can’t hear messages especially when you are outdoors.
The loudspeakers in your phone is typically rated at 0.5 Watt or less. A walkie talkie on the other hand is usually rated from 1.0 Watt to 2.0 Watt for speaker output. It is not surprising that you do not get the same volume as you expect from a walkie talkie.
You could get a a small bluetooth speakers and bring them around with you. The speakers on these bluetooth speakers should allow you to hear the incoming messages easily.
Wired Headsets with Talk Buttons
Wired headsets give you the best accessibility to your Walkie Talkie App if you do not mind the wires.
Starting the PTT is as easy as pressing the talk button on the wired headset. However do remmeber to press again to stop your PTT. Due to iOS and Android limitations, if you press and hold your the Talk button, you will probably activate Siri or Google Now.
Wired headsets are also great because the audio is routed to your ears and the microphone is part of the headset and close to your mouth.
Bluetooth headsets are suppose to bring the same convenience as the Wired Headset but without the wires.
Just stick one in your ear and you should be able to hear all the incoming messages. However there is some limitations that you will quickly experience around replying to messasges.
Not all headsets have a button to start the PTT and even if they have a button, the App that you have might not work with it.
If it does work, you might also notice slowness in the response time after you press the button. I have observed about one second delay between pressing the bluetooth button and getting the audio signal to start speaking. This delay is not present when I am not using the Bluetooth headset and seems to vary headset to headset.
Depending on the position of the button on headset, pressing the button multiple times might be painful for your ear.
Look for the Car Speaker phones or handsfree kit as they give you the portability that you need while moving around.
Bluetooth speakerphones are like Bluetooth headsets are larger and not meant to be worn. Most Speakerphones are either for use in a car or placed in a fixed position.
I have selected these below as they are small enough to bring around.