Let’s be honest. I hate dealing with my cell phone when I’m driving. It never seems to be convenient, so I always have to dig for it. I never seem to be able to hear when it goes off. It’s hard to hold a phone and drive, and even with headphones, there are still so many things to deal with. Driving with headphones on also makes me nervous because I worry that I won’t be able to hear what is going on outside of the phone call. I typically avoid using the phone at all when I drive.
My old car had built in Bluetooth functionality. Wow, was that nice. I could use the GPS from my phone and have it play on my speakers, but could listen to music and the GPS lady would just cut in when necessary. It worked the same way with phone calls; I could listen to the radio and the music would automatically mute itself when a phone call came through. That was nice. My new car doesn’t have that functionality (I bought it used), and I’ve missed it.
I’ve been looking for a viable alternative, and this device is the closest thing I have been able to find. It holds the phone snugly, and expands well. The speaker on the device itself is quite good. I can hear the music or the phone call through it just fine. What is even better is that it can connect using the FM transmitter and play on the car’s speakers.
As for the Bluetooth connectivity, I found it quite easy to connect. I didn’t need to enter a passcode, and the phone and device remember each other. In theory, the remote control is great. In practice, however; I never could get it to work well except adjusting volume or to input the radio frequency.
It seems to be made quite well, and I am very happy to have this device. I also plan to use it for playing audiobooks on road trips. I can load several onto my tablet and connect to this device through Bluetooth, so everyone in the car can hear the audiobook playing. We are planning a family road trip across the country in a little over a month, and this will help everyone retain their sanity, for sure.
This is the only hands-free device I have tried, so I can’t say how it compares to others, but here is what I see as the benefits:
- Connects to phone easily and quickly
- Voice prompts make it user-friendly; know when you are connected
- Clear reception
- Clear voice calls
- Once you figure out the FM transmission functionality, it is super-cool
- Sits easily on the dash without sliding around
- Holds phone securely
- Large buttons to take and end a call make it easy to use even while driving
- Ability to truly have a hands-free experience
- Ability to charge the phone and the device at the same time
- Included Remote control for ease of use by passengers
Now, let’s talk about what I didn’t like so much:Instructions are sparse and not super-clear on how to operate all the functions
- Remote doesn’t seem to work all that well
- I would love for the device to be able to work along-side the radio; meaning that the radio could be used until a call comes in.
The instructions were easy enough to follow until it came to connecting the FM transmitter. I am a pretty smart person, and it took me forever to figure out how to do this. I finally went online and read up on other similar products and watched videos on how this was done with those products.
Basically, here is how it works:
Step One (I don’t know if this is absolutely necessary, but these are the steps I took to make it work):Plug the device in to the cigarette lighter
Step Two: Turn on the device
Step Three: Connect via Bluetooth to the phone (if it isn’t already)
Step Four: Turn the radio to an unused channel (this isn’t absolutely necessary, I don’t think, but some of the reviewers said this helped make the reception better); remember the channel.
Step Five: Press the dial on the left side of the device (labelled item 3 in the instructions; or the Multi-touch switch), until the display shows “BT”, then quickly use the remote to punch in the three number channel frequency (i.e. 88.1, press 8-8-1)
Then you should be connected! Once I figured all this out, it seemed so easy.
Overall, I like this product. Like I said, I haven’t tried others like this to compare, but for the money, I think this is great. I’ll be using this a lot on our road trip in July. If my opinion changes or if I have anything to add to this review after that, I’ll post back here.