Current testing methodology is v1.2
September 21, 2022
2.32 x 0.43 x 4.61 in
I feel for the way I’d get translations done while traveling and a handheld translator feels like something that would be easier to use – you can just pull it out of your pocket wherever you are, press the button, and off you go.
I’ve definitely been getting a lot of feedback from people about just using Google Translate on your phone.
And while I agree that it’s a very suitable way to get translations done, and certainly gets people through a lot of situations when they’re traveling, I just find the convenience of a dedicated device, with a single push button, and the ability to switch languages very quickly, to be a little more ideal when traveling.
Next level technology for real-time translation.
The Fluentalk T1 is a portable hand-held translation device.
It’s powered by ASR technology which is a type of software that converts human speech into text in real time.
Supporting 40 languages, it’s capable of online and offline translation. It integrates an AI voice that translates your voice into a foreign language. It also has a camera that you can use for photo translation.
For around $300, the Fluentalk T1 is a nifty device that’s worth the investment especially if you’re constantly in need of translation.
- Languages Used: 40 languages (with 93 accents)
- Standby Time: 96h
- Continuous Translation Time: 3.5 h
- Wireless Network Technology: 2G/3G/4G LTE
- Dimension: 4.59×2.30×0.01 in (116.8×58.6×11.2mm)
- Weight: 0.25 lb (115g)
What’s in the Box?
- Timekettle Fluentalk T1 Handheld Translator
- Charging cable (Type-C)
- 2-year cellular data
- Slot Pin
- User manual
Stuff I like
- Small design and impressive build
- Accurate and real-time translation
- Easy to use
- Works with mobile data or Wi-Fi
- Has offline translation capabilities
First Impressions of the Fluentalk T1
As you can see from the photos, the Fluentalk T1 by Timekettle is a surprisingly well-made unit.
As soon as I opened the box, I was quite surprised at how high-quality it felt. It’s an Android-powered device, but the hardware itself is very sleek.
It has a nice, crystal-clear display, with a solid external shell, and it’s a nice form factor that fits in the hand.
The clear assignment and physical design of the translation buttons and power buttons are really intuitive. They’re also easy to use and respond well to the touch.
Overall, I was impressed as I didn’t expect such a high level of build quality from this unit.
Like the other Timekettle devices, the Fluentalk T1, which is the handheld division of the brand, has a few modes.
The first is the One-Click Translation, where you click the button on the side and speak, and then it translates it for the person that you’re with.
It’s perfect for cafes, taxis, and basic interactions between you and someone speaking a foreign language.
The second mode is the Listen Mode which translates any speech directed at you or overheard in your vicinity.
There’s Chat Translation mode, which is more of a natural, two-way listening translation.
You can put the device on the table in front of you, and have a conversation with someone. The device then can translate on the fly, and you can just refer to it to see what the other person is saying, and vice versa.
This mode is a multilingual chat feature, a little bit like Facebook Chat or WhatsApp.
You can chat in a group and have it translate all the languages so you can have a foreign language text chat with other people in a group, which is quite cool.
The final translation mode that the Fluentalk T1 offers is Photo Translation, which uses OCR and an eight-megapixel camera that lets you take photos and translate signages on the fly. This mode can also work offline.
Personally, the mode that I’ve used the most is the One-Click Translation mode, as I think if I’m traveling, I’m not looking at having long conversations with people.
It’s perfect for my needs as I just want to be able to get directions, order food, and find a bathroom when the need takes hold.
Chat Translation works, but is also subject to external noises, how loud they are, and how they impact the conversation.
If you’re having a conversation with someone on a busy street, I could imagine that there’ll be some difficulty in the microphone picking you both up.
I haven’t managed to find a busy enough environment to trick it, and it does have enhanced noise reduction built in.
The software is supported by a multi-microphone array, meaning that multiple microphones can pick up the frequencies of the human voice, even in relatively noisy surroundings.
Offline Mode and Free Mobile Data
The Fluentalk T1, like other Timekettle earphone devices, can manage 40 languages in 93 accents.
It also offers 13 languages in offline translation mode, which means you don’t need to be connected to the internet or Wi-Fi at all.
You need to download these packs and you can use the included Timekettle Fish Card as credits towards languages, or you can buy more credits to redeem more offline languages.
If you think that you’re going to be off the grid and losing connectivity, this is a great option.
Fluentalk and Timekettle go the extra distance on connectivity, offering two years of free mobile data, which is global.
They’ve connected to over 200 wireless network operators worldwide, which allows them to offer that free mobile data.
I couldn’t get hold of how many countries that covers, but I’m guessing that would cover most countries that would be popularly visited by tourists.
You can also fit a nano-SIM and it connects to Wi-Fi, depending on where you’re at.
So there are a lot of ways to connect to ensure that you get a real-time translation. The offline option is always there, of course.
Since getting the Fluentalk T1 a while ago, I’ve had two software updates on the unit.
It’s nice to know that they’re continuing to release improvements to both the hardware, firmware, and software.
Using the Device
On the right side of the Fluentalk T1, as you’ll see in the photos, there’s a power button, a blue, and a red button.
What I like about the One-Click Translation mode is that the blue button is dedicated to one language, and the red is for the other.
So it’ll be very easy for you to press the blue button, speak a statement, and then offer that to the person you’re speaking to, and they can either read the screen translation or listen to the speaker translation.
When they’re ready to reply, either you can click the button or hand them the device so they can speak in their language.
This is a really nice and fast way to keep the conversation flowing – something that I haven’t managed to do easily with Google Translate, as a software-based option.
The speed and efficiency of pushing a button, talking, seeing the translation, then pressing the other button for the response, and seeing or hearing the translation is very quick and quite natural.
It’s the simplicity of having a device that you can power up, choose a language, and then have two buttons to press to have a conversation that makes this so effective and easy to use.
The combination of multiple microphones, the high-resolution screen display, mobile capabilities, processor speed, and the number of languages means that, without a doubt, this will be the number one device that I’ll take when traveling.
I really enjoyed the M3 and the WT2 Edge was a step up, but the convenience of the T1 makes it a must-have for international travel and translation.
Google Translate and Apple Translate are just not at the level where they’re as convenient to use as this device.
Speed of Translation
The speed of the translation is supported by a couple of things that Fluentalk has focused on.
The first is just the hardware in the T1. It uses a quad-core CPU, with the capability of outputting 1.2GHz of computing power, which is so much more than what this unit probably needs.
The second thing that provides impressive speed is the way that they’ve built the technology, which is supported by a huge global network of servers and software accelerators. This allows it to provide a very rapid translation.
In my testing and working with this, it’s almost real-time. Fluentalk will tell you there’s a 0.2-second delay in translation, and I’d say that it’s probably true.
It’s so fast that the natural flow of the conversation is almost fluent – no pun intended.
I’m not really sure how much more I can rave about the Fluentalk T1.
The hardware build is superb. It has an eight-megapixel camera and it offers OCR text translation on signage.
It has two years of free global mobile internet for translation connectivity, easy-to-use side buttons for push-to-translate options, a fast processor for exceptionally fast translation speeds, multiple microphone arrays, USB charging, and hotspot capabilities.
It also has a built-in library of common expressions, like “How can I get to the hospital?” or “Where is the ATM?” should you need it, plus an SOS button, which shows you the local numbers you’d to call in case of an emergency.
It even has little things like world clocks and currency exchange on the front which can be quite handy when you’re traveling.
Fluentalk T1 has truly taken the lead in the mobile translator marketplace with the built-in eSIM for your own SIM capabilities.
This is way more than just a Google Translate on your phone device. It gets five stars from me.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask below. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions on this super little device.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-12-02 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.