If you have an old car, it is quite likely that not only do you not have the great advantage of a computer on board, hands-free or GPS as standard, but maybe even have to settle for listening to music using the radio, CDs or even cassettes . Incredible as it seems in the times of streaming music, our vehicle takes us to outdated and much more uncomfortable technologies.
Although you can always change the radio, there are other more affordable options such as Bluetooth receivers. And it is that updating the car is simpler than we think: in the market we can find parking sensor kits or reversing cameras that for very little money can bring our old car to the 21st century. If you have a smartphone and want to hear the music you have stored or streaming with services such as Spotify or Apple Music, you have it very easy: you only need a Bluetooth receiver.
Why a Bluetooth receiver?
When you have an old car, it’s more annoying to invest money in it – especially if you’ve already had breakdowns – and you might think it’s cheaper to buy an adapter that uses the jack connection of your vehicle’s radio with your phone. But there are two problems: more and more manufacturers eradicate this port of their phones and also operate without cable is much more comfortable. Bluetooth is an ideal technology for vehicles because it offers uncomplicated wireless connectivity over short distances. Thus, it is common to find it not only in audio equipment, but also in hands-free.
We can find Bluetooth receivers for very low price – for just over 10 euros and us found interesting models – so much so that it is worth making that small investment. In addition, the sound quality is quite acceptable.
How do Bluetooth receivers work?
As we mentioned previously, Bluetooth is a wireless technology that works over short distances. It is often found in gadgets such as headphones, speakers, phones, computers, activity wristbands … We just have to pair them , a configuration process that we will only have to do the first time two devices are in contact.
Once you have done it, as soon as they are within Bluetooth’s range of action, they will be detected in a matter of seconds and data transmission will begin. And is that after the pairing, you only need that those two devices are turned on and in the range of scope of this technology.
In the specific case of a best Bluetooth adapter online and your mobile, you only have to connect the receiver to your device’s radio and then go to the Bluetooth section of your phone. Search nearby devices and you will find a new one, probably with a name similar to the brand or model of the receiver. Press and the process will be finished.
Be careful, it is important not to confuse a Bluetooth receiver with a Bluetooth car transmitter. The latter connects to the lighter and serves to provide Bluetooth to a device that originally does not have it, such as a USB memory. Imagine that the radio in your old car only has a cassette, but you want to play the contents of a memory through the sound equipment of your vehicle: then you would have to connect the USB memory to the Bluetooth transmitter and then use a Bluetooth receiver like the ones in this article to be able to do it.
What to take into account when buying a Bluetooth receiver
We already have clear how a Bluetooth receiver works, but which one to buy? It seems that it is a device without too many mysteries; nevertheless there are factors that can be determining at the time of doing it.
These small devices can come in various shapes and colors. In general, this device is intended for vehicles and old televisions, so taking into account that they will be located on the front of the vehicle, it is appreciated that they are compact and lightweight given the space limitations of the passenger compartment. Also, the length of the cable, the accessories or the location of the classic blue light of Bluetooth is also aesthetic factors to value.
The Bluetooth receivers that we find in the market bring Bluetooth 4.0 or higher – generally 4.1 or 4.2 -, with which the theoretical maximum range could be 100 meters. In reality, the manufacturer will specify how far it could go, being 20 meters a fairly frequent maximum distance in receivers.
However, it must be borne in mind that obstacles and traffic can reduce that radius . In a car we are talking about distances ranging from 0.5 meters to a couple of meters maximum, so it will be enough to cover them with solvency.
An interesting option is that it allows you to synchronize more than one device at the same time , so that you can alternate between one phone and another – for example that of a passenger – or a tablet. It is also interesting to integrate other types of technologies, such as the NFC to listen to music by simply posing the device.
We are talking about Bluetooth receivers, but there are several Bluetooth versions with different ranges, energy consumption and profiles. In the market we find Bluetooth 4.0 and later receivers , so as already mentioned, the scope is more than enough and they are the most energy efficient .
Focusing exclusively on Bluetooth audio profiles, these will determine their functions and sound quality. With regard to sound, the main Bluetooth profiles are:
A2DP, is the most popular, it is used to transmit audio.
AVRCP intended for the remote control of different audio playback functions.
HFP required using a device as hands-free and making / receiving calls from our smartphone.
HSP, used to receive audio content in headphones.
APTx, is the newest and is available in high-end Bluetooth speakers and equipment. Play with CD quality improving latency.
What we should look for – and in turn the most widespread – is the A2DP, which allows a bit rate of 320 kbps in stereo, more than enough for streaming services, as well as MP3 and AAC. All listed models include at least this profile.
Load and playback time
Here the efficiency of the device comes into play. It is essential to acquire a Bluetooth receiver that charges fast and that provides a reasonable range of use, or if not, that at least allows its operation while charging. In the same way, it is interesting that we can load the receiver in the vehicle itself.
The manufacturers usually provide the loading time and / or the indicative reproduction time, although it will be the user’s experience that determines it with precision.
Some featured models
The $12.99 that this model of the Mpow brand costs is its biggest claim and the secret of its success: offering a lot for very little. Although the plastic finish is somewhat rough, it is a truly compact receiver with 3 buttons to skip songs, modify the volume or change the function that connects directly to the jack of the car, allowing both listening to music and using it hands-free . It is even compatible with Siri and allows you to connect up to two devices via Bluetooth at the same time.
It must be charged with a 5V charger, not allowing fast chargers when running the risk of damaging the device. The kit includes a microUSB-USB power cable.
The best: compact, cheap and multifunction.
The worst: No scope is specified.
The design of the UGREEN Bluetooth receiver is truly compact and minimalist, with a single button to switch from music playback to hands-free use. It specifies that it must be powered with a voltage of 5V, so it is not compatible with fast charging. Fortunately, it can be used while it is charging.
The kit includes a charging microUSB-USB cable with which we can charge it with the lighter using the appropriate adapter.
The best: price, multifunction, very compact.
The worst: Charger not included.
The receiver TP-Link HA100 has a discreet design with a blue light on the front to report its operation, although it integrates a cable from the receiver to the socket. It is compatible with any radio with a 3.5 mm jack or RCA jack for old TVs. Comes with plug charger, micro USB-USB cable, and RCA cable and manual. Its price is 19.99 euros on Amazon.
The best: high connectivity.
The worst: cable from the receiver to the jack connection, car charger not included, price.
The AUKEY receiver is very compact, discreet, with an intuitive design that can be attached to the dashboard thanks to an adhesive pad that is included in the kit, which will continue to leave the long cable jack in sight. Although it does not specify the time of load and reproduction, it integrates a charger that is connected to the lighter, making it possible to load not only the receiver itself, but also other devices. The devices will continue to operate during charging. This player has a microphone to use it, as well as to listen to music from your mobile, as hands-free
The best: multifunction, with car charger.
The worst: cable from the outlet to the long receiver, price.
This device is a two in one: it serves as a receiver and also as a transmitter. It has a somewhat bulky design, although the cable is short. Unlike other receivers, the Bluetooth profile is APTX, which gives more richness and depth of sound. It allows to pair up to two devices at the same time. Its price is 27.99 euros on Amazon.
The best: versatile in terms of functionality, sound quality.
The worst: It does not specify the scope, price