XtremeMac InCharge Auto BT: Complicating the cable (hands-on)

The InCharge Auto BT is a simple device, both in form factor and function. Essentially, it features a 12-volt power connection on one end of a 4-foot cable and a male analog auxiliary audio connection on the other. You may be asking, "If one end of the cable connects to power and the other end connects to the car, where does my phone connect?" The answer is: wirelessly. That "BT" at the end of InCharge Auto BT doesn't stand for Brian Tong. It's short for Bluetooth and this unit uses Bluetooth HFP and A2DP/AVRCP to wirelessly receive audio from your handset to be output to your car's speakers via the aforementioned auxiliary audio connection. … Read more

Kanex AirBlue: So simple, it's smart (hands-on)

Where I'm from, we have a saying: It's so simple that it's stupid. Basically, this means that something is so easy to understand that it's almost impossible for it to go wrong. That phrase pretty accurately describes the operation of the Kanex AirBlue. It only has one function--wirelessly streaming audio from a Bluetooth device to almost any audio player--and it does it well.

What does it do? The Kanex AirBlue is simply a portable Bluetooth music receiver, or, as I like to call it, an audio bridge. After pairing with a A2DP-enabled smartphone or portable media … Read more

CNET Roadside Assistance 012: LoJack your car. (podcast)

In this week's episode, we answer your questions on car alarms, bluetooth audio streaming, and what is synthetic oil?

Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 012 SHOW NOTES

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Coasting Prohibited

Audi MMI

Speaker options for iPad 2

Shopping for iPad speakers doesn't have to be complicated. If you already have a speaker system you like, you're probably just a .99-cent stereo aux cable away from making it work with an iPad (or anything else, for that matter).

But if you want an elegant way to amplify your iPad or iPad 2, there are a number of good options out there, including docks, wireless speakers, and portables.

Generally speaking, there are four ways to get sound out of the iPad. It can go out through the headphone jack to anything, though you run the risk of … Read more

Hyundai builds a better Civic: 2011 Elantra GLS

For years, the Honda Civic has stood as the gold standard for small, fun-to-drive cars. Recently, however, C-segment competition has started to heat up, and Honda is facing some serious competition from the likes of Hyundai. Yes, Hyundai; don't laugh. We were recently given an opportunity to spend time behind the wheel of Hyundai's all-new compact sedan and we're now thoroughly convinced that Honda should definitely be afraid of the 2011 Elantra GLS.

Starting in the engine room, the Elantra is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that, at 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque, … Read more

Bluetooth headphones inspired by military dog tags

Most outdoor enthusiasts and athletes choose headphones based on utility: folding band over-ears for easy storage and durability or rubber hook buds for sweat resistance, but the Outdoor Technology (OT) Bluetooth Tags throw a new design into the marketplace: rugged earbud headphones that hang loosely around your neck while not in use, like a pair of dog tags.

The $80 OT Tags come in black and red and eliminate the fumbling and tangles that come with loose wires with two Bluetooth wireless earpieces connected with a strong braided wire. It's compatible with all A2DP device including most smartphones, but … Read more

Soundfreaq delivers feature-packed speaker dock

When the Soundfreaq SFQ-1 Sound Platform speaker dock hit my desk, the odds were stacked against it. I had never heard of the company, but its intentionally misspelled name immediately conjured up visions of magician Chris Angel and bad '80s metal bands.

Fortunately, I was able to look past the name, because the Soundfreaq Sound Platform ($199) is one cool speaker. Chalk it up to being the new kid on the block with something to prove, but the Sound Platform includes tons of little extras and details that established brands such as Sony, Logitech, Philips, and Creative just don't … Read more

Parrot announces Minikit Smart Bluetooth car kit

Parrot, makers of the previously reviewed and highly rated Minikit Slim Bluetooth speakerphone, has just announced the latest in its line of hands-free car kits, the Parrot Minikit Smart. However, the Smart has a trick up its sleeve. It's not just a speakerphone, it's also a universal phone cradle and a USB charger.

The Minikit Smart attaches to the vehicle's windshield with a suction cup and connects to any handset that supports Bluetooth wireless, acting as an external speaker and microphone for for hands-free calling. If it sounds anything like the Minikit Slim, we're sure that … Read more

Scosche motorMouth II now available

Remember the Scosche motorMouth II Bluetooth hands-free kit we covered back in July? Well, it's available now.

Essentially, the motorMouth II is a Bluetooth-enabled microphone that plugs into your vehicle's 3.5mm auxiliary input sending hand-sfree calls and A2DP streamed audio through the vehicle's speakers. Scosche says that DSP echo cancellation technology ensures that, even in noisy cars, calls will be clear.

We'll have a motorMouth II in for review soon, but those of you who can't wait will be able to find the motorMouth II for $79.99 at Scosche's Web site. In … Read more

How to connect your iPad/iPhone to Bluetooth speakers

I own both an iPad and an iPhone 3GS, and I can tell you that the number of times I've considered using Bluetooth audio to wirelessly connect to speakers has been zero. I can't clearly explain why: maybe I think a dock that connects through the bottom pin connector is easier, or I get lazy and use the low-powered built-in speakers instead.

Well, let me try to convince you now: using Bluetooth as a wireless way to enjoy audio is both easy and fun. And it can free your iPhone up in very useful ways when you're … Read more