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Video: Beyond phone calls — Bluetooth in your car

Heads up!

Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.

Bluetooth® lets you talk hands-free in the car, but it can do a lot more. Many in-dash stereos also let you stream audio from your phone over your vehicle's speakers. Depending on your phone's features, you may be able to listen to driving directions, Internet radio, stored music, and more.

Read video transcript

Bluetooth® is a great way to make and receive hands-free phone calls in your car, but it can actually do a lot of other cool things too. These are kind of dependent upon your particular phone but what Bluetooth does is act as a wireless bridge in between your phone and your car speakers. So in a lot of cases what you can hear through your earpiece will be broadcast through your car speakers. So let's take a look at some fun ways to use Bluetooth.

So first let's stream a song from an Android phone using Pandora. You know Bluetooth is a really great way to get more out of your Android phone in the car. A lot of car stereos are designed around the iPhone but you don't need an iPhone to play all your tunes in the car.

Something really cool here on this particular Sony stereo is this cluster of icons over on the right side. This stereo's kind of built around Bluetooth and what you can see here is through your phone it'll tell you your battery power, how much you have left, how many bars of reception you're getting. It's just kind of cool to know that stuff without having to dig through your phone while you're driving.

We have a particular smartphone that has an app that can actually read text messages out loud to you, which is a great use for Bluetooth while you're driving.

Text message: "New text message from Robert. Hey Zak, how's the video shoot going? Catch you later. Reading completed."

That's pretty cool huh?

You know, an important thing to note about Bluetooth in the car is that it's really more of a convenience feature than a safety feature. It's free of wires and hands but you will occasionally need to interact with your phone. It's really best to have your passenger do so or if it's just you and you really can't avoid it, try putting a mount in your car so your phone is front and center.

You know something I really like is that you can store digital music on your phone on the little memory card or even on the internal memory and then play that back as if you had an iPod or something like that. It's a great way to get music in your car and a great use for Bluetooth. In some cases it'll read driving directions. There's a lot of things Bluetooth can do.

Stereo voice: "After a quarter of a mile at the roundabout take the third exit onto Airport Road."

So we've gone over just a few ways to use Bluetooth in the car — anywhere from streaming internet radio to reading text messages aloud, making hands-free calls of course, also storing music on your phone and streaming it through Bluetooth.

There's a lot of different possibilities and you might even come up with another one that we haven't even thought of. One thing that's important when you're shopping for a stereo is that there's two different ways Bluetooth is used. One is strictly for hands-free calling and the other is for hands-free calling and audio streaming. Audio streaming is the key here if you want to do any of these cool things in your car. So be sure to read carefully whether your stereo does that and of course, if you have any questions, just give one of our people a call and they'll let you know.

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