There are plenty of downsides to owning an older car, usually involving the outdated car stereo. There have been plenty of solutions, my favorite being the Cassette adapter. I feel quite lucky that I have at least an Aux port, but I’ve been in too many cars that have those lovely bluetooth stereos. I’ve contemplated replacing the built in stereo, but those that support Apple Car Play are expensive. There is always that avenue of saving up for a new car, perhaps the affordable Tesla car? What? Don’t take my dreams away.
I’m not the only person that experiences Bluetooth Stereo Envy, and Kinivo has just the solution with the Kinivo BTC450, a Bluetooth Car Kit that plugs in using the Aux Port. I’ve had the chance to drive around using the device, so how does it rank? Is this the ultimate Bluetooth solution?
The Kinivo BTC450 meets every expectation that I had when it comes to design. It’s very minimal, but what I really appreciate is the fact that it almost blends into the dash board. It’s there, of course, but it doesn’t look bulky, and has a very sleek look.
The device is composed of three pieces: the Microphone / Controller unit, which is just a dot, the Power Adapter that uses the standard cigarette Lighter Port, and the sound cord that’s 3.5mm and plugs directly into the Aux Port. The Microphone Controller features a Play, Pause, Next, and Back button, making it easy enough to change the music on the go. Holding the play / pause activates Siri for you iPhone users.
While I’m a fan of the minimalist design, that doesn’t include the quality of wiring. When I first opened up the device, I could tell the wiring could cause an issue with my car. The wires didn’t appear to have any shielding on them, and I had a feeling that I would hear distortion with my car. Boy was I right…
Using the Kinivo BTC450 was a breeze, it was simply plug in and play. I really enjoyed the fact that the Power Plug included a USB out, so I could charge my device while playing. That defeats the whole wireless fun of having Bluetooth in the car, but it was still a nice feature.
For the day to day usage, I was pretty impressed. As long as you are set to your aux channel, you will hear a beep noise indicating that it’s connected when you turn on your car. Often I would start some music and lob the phone onto the passenger seat. My favorite usage was holding the play / pause button. That would trigger Siri to activate. When it worked it was excellent, though the sound issues I ran into made it a tad difficult to really utilize.
The sound was great for listening to Music, but my car was giving a lot of feedback when making calls or using Siri. I would have to turn up the volume to almost full blast, and you would hear odd electric noises in the background. It mentions in the instruction manual that this can happen with certain vehicles and recommends you buy a 3.5mm Ground Loop Isolator. While I’ve made attempts to find one, both the Shack and Best Buy have been a bust. I’ll be sure to update the review once I locate one. In the meantime, the manual states this doesn’t happen with all cars; I’m rocking a Scion XA and it has been known to have similar issues with other devices. I actually bought a very shielded 3.5mm cable specifically because of this very issue.
I’m a little bummed with the sound issues I’m running into with my Scion XA. That being said, the wireless music has been very nice and the quality sounds great. I think this is a solution that would work with most people’s car setup. It’s the perfect price as well, at $39.99 there’s no reason not to try it out.