Blackberry Visor Mount Speakerphone VM-605 Review



The Blackberry Visor Mount Speakerphone (VM-605) is a pretty, slick new device from RIM that combines a hands-free speakerphone with an FM transmitter to let you hear your Blackberry over the car’s speakers. In appearance and function, it is a piece of art.

Besides a hands-free speakerphone, it is also billed as your gateway to ‘Road Ready Tunes’ and as being GPS friendly.

Let’s get the specs out of the way-

  • Nine Languages /Variants Supported- U.K. English, U.S. English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, LatAm Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese
  • Caller ID Announcement- Audible, Visual — through car stereo’s LCD (RDS)
  • Standby Time- 240 hours with Time-out shutdown
  • Charging- Micro-USB 12/24V Automotive Charger will also charge Micro-USB BlackBerry®smartphones
  • Battery- 1100mAh Li-Polymer (enclosed)
  • Bluetooth Version 2.0, class 2
  • Audio Outputs- Onboard speakerphone (3.3 Watts), FM transmission with auto station scanning
  • Echo and noise cancellation
  • Size- 4.84 x 2.27 x 0.63 inches (123 x 57.6 x 16mm, and 3.03 ounces (86g)

The demo unit I was sent included the Visor Mount Speakerphone (VMO), an auto/DC charging cord, a CD-ROM, and a single page of printed directions. (The PDF on-line has more information.)

Includes: VM-605 unit and charger. (Blackberry not included)

Includes: VM-605 unit and charger. (Blackberry not included)


The VMO is a beautifully styled unit that is compact and passes the Creak Test with very minor noise. The front of the unit is actually both a large button, display panel for four icons, and the microphone. The very glossy surface shows fingerprints and dust, and has a tendency to reflect glare. Most of the icons have several states to help you figure out what is going on… if you remember them all or have the guide handy.

VM-605 front view, with 'pairing on' indicator

VM-605 front view, with 'pairing on' indicator

The sides of the unit have a Volume Up and Down button and covered charging port on the right, and an FM button on the left. The Up/Down buttons serve many functions.

VM-605 right side

VM-605 right side

VM-605 left side

VM-605 left side


To turn the VMO on and off, you press the front button for 2 and 4 seconds respectively. It will say “Connected’ or ‘Pairing Off’. A couple of minor things so far…

  1. The instructions say ‘Press and hold front panel’. What they mean is to press the top edge of the panel. The panel is basically hinged at the bottom, so pressing the top gets you the best results. Pressing in the middle was often inconsistent for me.
  2. The synthesized voices sound like an English woman and are a bit indistinct.
  3. There is a pause between pressing the button and the voice, so there is a tendency to press for too long, turning the whole thing off again.

The instructions for pairing the unit take six steps, but it went exactly as planned and the instructions are well-written for this part. It was up and running in a couple minutes.

The unit was delivered partially charged, and plugging it in to charge is simple enough. I could perhaps wish for a longer cord, but I just charged it on the passenger seat- although an AC charger would have been nice. While there is not a battery indicator, there are indicators for charging, fully charged, and low battery. The battery lasted my entire testing period- about a week just sitting there and about an hour of active use. If your Blackberry uses the Micro-USB connector, it can charge your unit. Mine uses a Mini-USB so I am out of luck- a dual-tipped charger would be nice.

The VM-605 speaks nine languages, and you may have to change the language- but it is easy to do if you have the directions handy.

VM-605 showing that it is connected to the FM radio

VM-605 showing that it is connected to a call and FM radio


The heart of this unit is its ability to transmit the Blackberry’s speaker to your vehicle’s FM radio. Pressing the FM button on the side starts the pairing process and it will announce a frequency. Play something over the Blackberry, use the menu to transmit it over the VM-605 (which should be a menu item), and listen. If you hear it over the radio, great! If not, just touch the Volume Up button for a second and it will announce ‘Searching…’, and a new frequency. A couple minor things on this point include…

  1. It often sent me to a frequency that had a station on it- the ‘search’ feature seems to be more of a ‘what is on my internal list’ than ‘what frequencies are clear’ search.
  2. Omaha is not a big city, but it is hard to find clear channels to use. The unit and I found two of them, both have some static.
  3. An undocumented feature is that if you tap the Up or Down buttons, the frequency changes by one step. This can help you lock in a good channel.
  4. Overall sound quality is about that of an AM radio or a bit better. Your results will depend a lot on the frequencies. Considering that this is sold as a music device, I was a bit disappointed- but it is no worse than any other FM transmitter I have tried, and better than many.

The FM transmitter function shuts off after a minute if it is not in use. I also noticed that it did not always automatically reconnect when starting the car, but a quick tap of the FM button solves this.


To answer or hang up, you just click the front panel (at the top) quickly. The calls were quickly transferred to the radio and sounded good on my end. The people on the other end usually reported that the quality and clarity was the same as a call straight from the Blackberry- so the microphone is obviously doing a good job of picking up my voice and filtering out the background noise- just as it promised!

You can ignore a call by holding the front panel for a second, or mute a call by tapping the panel while on a call. You supposedly come back from muting by tapping the Up button- but every time I tried it, it changed frequencies.


This is a nice unit. It has a few minor glitches, but overall works nicely and offers good sound quality on calls. I heartily endorse hands-free devices for drivers who use cell phones (the crash statistics are scary!) and this is a good option. My biggest complaint is the nice, slick front panel.

Besides showing fingerprints and glare, it also acts as a multi-function button with no cues on how to use it. How long do you press it, and what functions can it do again? You would quickly master it in use, but I think that any learning curve or distraction while driving should have been engineered out. I understand that adding buttons makes distractions worse, and I applaud the use of voice cues to make this easier, but I can wish it was a bit less ambiguous.

I do not have voice commands set up on my Blackberry, so I was unable to try them with this unit, but others have noted they work well together to make an even more hands-free experience. I was also unable to test it with a GPS system, but again, other reviewers liked this feature.

At $99.99 suggested retail, it may be a bit high but I would expect the price to drop as other retailers start to carry it.


    Product Information

    Manufacturer:Research In Motion (RIM)
    • Easy set-up
    • Good speakerphone functionality
    • Very good voice quality
    • Works with other non-Blackberry devices capable of stereo Bluetooth
    • Typical FM transmitter functionality and station clarity
    • Typical music transmission quality
    • 'Multi-purpose' buttons require some learning and seem inconsistent in some applications
    Posted in: Bluetooth Gear, Car Gear, Reviews, Wireless
    { 8 comments… add one }
    • Mark Adkins August 12, 2009, 10:51 am

      One recent experience to share. I was gassing up and needed to make a quick call when I was out of the van- and the device kicked in and ‘stole’ my call! It took me a minute to figure out what was going on since my van’s speakers were off as I fueled up. I don’t get or make enough calls to remember how to quickly switch things back, but it is easy enough to do either from the Blackberry or the Visor.

      • Julie August 12, 2009, 12:22 pm

        @Mark I’ve had similar experiences and then feel like a complete dork when I figure out what happened 😉

    • Mike January 18, 2010, 7:47 pm

      Is there a way to leave the VM-605 on? I hate powering it up every time I get in the vehicle>

    • Mark Adkins January 18, 2010, 10:11 pm

      I don’t recall a way to bypass the auto-off feature.

    • Jill July 24, 2010, 12:51 am

      I am testing this now, and looking up reviews. I just wanted to mention to Mark that you should not use your phone near a gas pump, it is just as dangerous as smoking while pumping gas.

      Not really a blue tooth comment though.

    • Mark Adkins July 24, 2010, 7:03 pm

      @Jill- that really is not true.

      They also did a big bit about it on Mythbusters.

    • Fuks Joe April 23, 2011, 1:15 am

      Can you use the device also with another bluetooth phone?

    • Phil December 23, 2012, 11:44 pm

      Tonight I was shutting down the unit.
      i came back out to the truck and three lights were on.

      As far as I can tell the unit froze.

      Anything I have tried to do to shut the unit off has nit worked short of cutting the wires to the battery.

      The battery dies not plug in but is hard wired to the board.

      Been a great unit up to now.

      Any ideas?

      Phil in Burlington Ontario
      Dec 2012

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