I might be in the minority but I am a huge fan of BlueTooth functionality for listening to music (not really a fan of the earpieces). A few weeks ago I wrote about my experience with the Bose Soundlink and how happy I was with it. Driving to and from work was another thing. My car does not have BlueTooth in it and the dealer aftermarket option was about $500. To use my iPhone to listen to music or podcasts required a rats nest of cables. The phone would sit awkwardly on the front seat with a power cord attached to the bottom and an Aux 2.5mm jack attached to the headphone input on the top. To say this was inelegant was an understatement. The wires floating around my car alone was enough to disturb my “clean line” sensibilities
I spent some time reseaching other aftermarket options and came across a company called Parrot. They make a variety of models and there are several cables that will work with the manufacturers cable to make installation easier. The problem I had was I did not want one with a screen. I know sounds odd. But I have a built in GPS screen in the car, a display speedometer and my iPhone. The last thing I wanted was yet another screen. Fortunately there was one model the Parrot MKi9000 without a screen. This model allows for both streaming of audio as well as integration with the phone for making and receiving calls.
I opted to have the unit installed through an auto audio dealer. Installation still requires that you remove the radio from the dashboard to attach the cable. Also if you purchase a unit that does have the telephone integration there is a small cable that must be installed to hold the microphone. The small controller can be mounted anywhere and it comes with an attachment that can be attached to the steering wheel. I opted for an area on my dashboard that was easy to reach.
Once you have paired your phone with the MKi9000 you never have to do it again. It also does support multiple phones if needed. The first time your phone is paired you get an audible message that says “Phonebook has been downloaded”. If you want to make a call you just have to press the green button on the controller and speak the name of the person you want to call. You must speak it in the same order as you have it stored in your address book, so if you have them stored last name, first name you must speak it in the same order. When you receive an incoming call it will speak the persons name and ask you if you want to “Accept or Reject” the call. After saying accept there is about a 1 second delay and then you are connected to the caller and speaking normal.
Playing a music through the iPhone is as easy as finding the song you want in the music application and clicking play. I have also used this setup with Instacast to play podcasts as well without any issue.
The setup also comes with a cable that is hidden that provides 3 input options if you have a device that does not support bluetooth. Standard connectivity includes a standard iPod / iPhone 30-pin dock connector, USB connector and a standard 3.5 mm line-in.
If you want a screen so you don’t have to use your phone for navigation there are several models you can pick from.
Overall I am very happy with this add-on to the car and I would recommend it highly.