Thursday, September 21, 2017

How To Get Smartphones To Play Audio On Radios Without Bluetooth

My kids have older cars without Bluetooth on their radios, so finding good ways of getting audio from their phones through their car stereo systems has become kind of a quest for me lately. I've bought a couple other devices to do this, one worked reasonably well and one was a dud. Then I found the Roav SmartCharge
Car Kit F2. This is the third device and I must say it's the all-around best one I've used.

The device is compact, and fit well into the car's lighter outlet without taking up a ton of space in the console. Once I plugged in the device, I tuned my radio to find an empty space with no other stations and then used the arrow buttons to tune the device to broadcast on that empty frequency. Then I got the phone and it paired almost instantly. Because the Roav is using Bluetooth 4.2, a voice told me the phone was paired. I started playing a song from Spotify and it sounded GREAT through the car stereo. No distortion, clean quality, no loss of fidelity unlike some other items in this category.

I found some other great features in this device as well. There are 2 USB ports that can be used for charging and they use some kind of technology that can adjust the amount of power sent to a device to maximize charging. I have to say that port charged my phone every bit as fast as when I plug it into AC at home. Very impressive. The top port charges as well and doubles as an input for a USB device like a memory stick to play audio from the device. The Roav delivers really good sound quality on phone calls, but be aware that the microphone is on the left side of the top of the unit. That can make you sound soft to the person calling you if the mic is obstructed or if it's not pointed towards the driver. I saw some comments about problems with callers hearing users of this device, so I made sure I had a clear shot from my mouth to the little hole for the microphone.

One really cool thing about this device is the app you can use with it. it's a free download from the Play Store and it lets you note where you parked your car and using GPS can help guide you back to the parking space. I think that will be especially handy when I'm parked a million miles away from the stores when I'm doing my holiday shopping. When you shut off your engine, the app records where you are via GPS and can help get you to your car by letting you know when you're nearby. The app will also help you find an empty FM channel to play music through.

As I said, there are a lot of devices that will play music and calls through your car stereo by finding an unused frequency. This one seems to do it the best, has tremendous charging capabilities, and an app to go with it. It's a winner in my book.

Roav was kind enough to provide me with the device used for this review.
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