The way that in-car stereo systems develop often mirrors other technical advances as manufacturers integrate the latest technologies into their ranges.
Today, the cutting edge is provided by Bluetooth connectivity which basically means you can use a smartphone, an iPod or other MP3 playe in tandem with your in-car entertainment system.
Being able to play music from other devices through the car radio isn’t the only thing that Bluetooth offers, as you can use the car radio controls to browse and select items from the connected device.
So, when it comes to being able to display track information on the screen or information display and make and receive phone calls hands-free in your car, what are some of the choices that will make you the envy of your friends?
The Sony MEX-BT2900 CD player features an integrated microphone as well as audio streaming capabilities from other devices. What’s more, support for both MP3 and WMA playback via CDs means you can get far more playing time from older formats too.
An easy-to-read single line LCD display shows clock, station ID and track data and the auxiliary input is located handily on the front so you can connect almost any portable audio device with an ‘audio out’ socket to your car’s sound system
In Phase IPS 249BT
The In Phase range of head units are competitively priced and engineered to high standards. Perfectly suited to anyone wishing to get started straight ‘out of the box’, they also offer a wide range of customisation options via multiple line outs.
As well as being a CD/MP3 player with full RDS radio for FM and AM, the addition of an SD card slot and USB on the front of the fascia gives the maximum number of connection choices. That’s before you even get down to the built in Bluetooth capabilities.
The Clarion CZ301E is known for easy compatibility and great value. CD-R and CD-RW playback using MP3 and WMA file formats and a 3.5mm mini jack AUX input on the fascia means that it is a multi-use music player.
In addition the RDS-EON tuner with 18 FM, 6MW/LW station presets and 4 x 45 watts output with subwoofer sound enhancement options means it certainly isn’t a lightweight option.
Of course built-in Bluetooth allows for legal, hands-free phone calls and streaming connectivity which are clear assets.