Video: Our Bluetooth® Car Stereo Challenge
Former Crutchfield staff writer Woody Sherman spent years working as an editor and manager in the video industry at the national level.
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Bluetooth® connectivity has become a popular feature on car receivers. In this video, we take a look at eight different in-dash receivers equipped with Bluetooth capabilities and run them through a series of tests at the Crutchfield Labs. After watching the video, you can check out our full selection of Bluetooth capable car stereos.
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Bluetooth has become a popular feature on many in-dash car receivers. We gave eight of our current Bluetooth receivers to a test panel and had them check out their performance. They rated each of the receivers for pairing, audio streaming and call quality on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 as the best rating. Here's a look at some of their thoughts and observations.
Axxera XDMA7200: The Axxera doesn't offer as many features as some of the other receivers, but it does have a nice, simple, clean layout. It was pretty easy to use, too. Our reviewers liked the simple layout and the external microphone. Calling options were a bit limited and audio streaming capabilities were pretty basic too.
Alpine CDE-HD138BT: The Alpine was a strong performer for us, but it was especially good for audio streaming. And we really liked the way it worked with Pandora. The Alpine boasted sound quality enhancements that made streamed audio sound better. And our reviewers liked how controls for Pandora were grouped together for easy use.
Clarion CZ302: What I liked about the Clarion was that it synched with the phone right away. It also prompted me to upload my directory. Minus? Well, the internal microphone didn't deliver the best sound quality on calls. While the internal mic was a bit of a limiter, our testers gave the Clarion solid marks for pairing performance. They also liked the logical and easy to use controls for placing calls and looking up numbers.
JVC KDX80BT: The JVC was easy to use for calling, audio streaming, and we really liked the display. Now some of us had issues with pairing, but overall we liked this one a lot. The JVC excelled in ease of use with simple buttons and controls. The display made the menu easy to read, too. Our testers liked the controls for enhancing call quality and enjoyed being able to read metadata from streaming audio on the sharp display.
Kenwood KDC-BT852HD: The Kenwood unit we used was very fast and easy to pair. It downloaded my phonebook right away, and the menus were clear and concise. The one-button pairing of the Kenwood was a big hit with the panel. They also appreciated level of call quality adjustments that the receiver boasted.
Parrot ASTEROID: I really liked the Parrot. It was very easy to pair with. The display was attractive and easy to navigate. And it also had voice recognition, which really made things easy. To a man, our reviewers all commented on the Parrot's voice activated calling. It doesn't require any setup of your phone or the receiver. Outgoing calls got high marks, thanks to the ASTEROID's stereo microphone. And finally, all the reviewers agreed that the Parrot's display not only looked good, it made working with the receiver quick and easy.
Pioneer DEH-P9400BH: The Pioneer was one of the best overall receivers of the bunch. And it's a great CD receiver, too. The Pioneer's Bluetooth interface was easy to work with and our panel liked the ABC phone number search function and the receiver's sharp-looking display. The external microphone yielded solid call-quality results.
Sony MEX-BT4000P: The Sony unit was a little bit of a disappointment. We had a hard time connecting that with Bluetooth. And the manual wasn't much help, either. The testers liked the Sony's text message notification feature. And despite some problems with initial phone pairing, they gave it high marks for the simple to use interface and Bluetooth controls.
Have questions about these receivers or any others? Chat, email, or give us a call. We'll be happy to help.