Product Type: Sony in Car Audio
Newest Review: ... Then you'll notice, even with the standard speakers still installed, that the sound quality is improved compared to the factory fit... more
Cheap and Effective Handsfree
Member Name: DanB7290
Advantages: Cheap, effective Bluetooth handsfree solution, plays music wirelessly
Disadvantages: Sound quality suffers because of Bluetooth, call quality affected by head unit positioning.
Back when I was 17, and passed my test, I got a Fiat Seicento. Not the greatest start to my motoring life, but certainly one of the most affordable. One of the first things I did was swap out the standard Fiat radio with this (the old one had a cassette player, for goodness sake!)
After discussion with my dad, I decided to get one with Bluetooth phone capability, as Dad said he could almost guarantee I would be pulled over for using my phone behind the wheel otherwise. I never did, so that just shows his complete lack of faith.
First up, the install is fairly easy, even my sister can do it without any assistance. Then you'll notice, even with the standard speakers still installed, that the sound quality is improved compared to the factory fitted head unit. The CD player, FM/AM radio, and aux all work perfectly as you would expect them to. Controls are very easy to use. I later added some custom speakers to my car (kind of got shiny shiny syndrome when Dad ordered his Audi with a Bose system), and then spent about an hour sat on the drive, making adjustments to the fade (can fade left to right and front to back if you want, I tended to keep the sound slightly focused to the back as there were bigger, more powerful speakers back there), bass and treble. It wasn't nearly as good as the Audi's Bose system, but at 20% of the cost this wasn't surprising. In general I'd say it was impressive.
Now, the main reason I bought this; the handsfree phone. Thing you have to remember is, the mic is actually behind the fascia of the head unit. In most cars this isn't a problem; but in the Seicento, the head unit is much further down the centre console, near the gearstick. So people had difficulty hearing me, but after replacing the Seicento with a Panda, people could hear me better as the head unit was placed much further up, so this is not a fault of the head unit. Incoming voice quality is fairly good, but it will depend on your car's speakers. Overall, it's a fairly good solution; not one to rival the factory installed options on newer cars mind, but on older cars without it, then it's a much more elegant solution than others, some of which require mics and speakers to be placed on your dash or sun visors.
Now the party piece. If you have a phone that supports a later version of Bluetooth with A2DP, you can play music on your phone, and it'll come through the car. Like all Bluetooth based wireless speaker systems, you do lose some sound quality, but in cars which have a lot more wind noise, like my Fiats both did, it's not too noticeable.
In short then, if you want a Bluetooth handsfree option, but your car doesn't have one, then get this, it could just save you that £60 fine and 3 penalty points.
Summary: Want an in car handsfree kit? Step this way...
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