Jupiter Jack review: Steer clear

The product: Jupiter Jack
The price: $20 plus $6.99 shipping and handling.
The claims: Turns your car radio into a hands-free phone.
The Buy-o-meter rating: 2 out of 5

Jupiter Jack is a matchbook-sized phone accessory that promises to turn any cell phone into a hands-free device and any car radio into a wireless speaker system.

"No plugs. No wires. No hands," says infomercial pitchman Anthony Sullivan.

No way!

I tested the Jupiter Jack on three cars. I plugged the plastic gizmo into my cell phone's headphone port, tuned the car radios to 99.3 FM and flicked on the red switch.

In Car No. 1, the radio broadcast the phone call loud and clear. On Car No. 2, I heard nothing but static, even after trying several stations. On Car No. 3, at first I heard nothing, then waved my phone around like a whirligig and finally heard the call with my arm fully extended -- nice way to drive.

So Jupiter Jack's claim to work on any phone, in any car, proved false.

Most important, Jupiter Jack tells motorists that the device enables them to "safely talk and drive at the same time."

Not so, according to studies by University of Utah psychologists David Strayer and Frank Drews, who found that motorists who talk on cell phones -- be it hands-free or handheld -- are as impaired as drunken drivers.

Adding insult to possible highway injury, Jupiter Jack costs $20 plus nearly $7 in shipping and handling: "Buy now," and you get two jacks for an extra S&H charge, bringing the total money wasted to $34.

That's a lot of jack for an unreliable and risky piece of plastic.

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