Most new cars have Bluetooth capability built-in. However, if you’re driving an older-model vehicle, then you’ll need to find other ways to broadcast an audio signal. You could install a Bluetooth kit wired directly into the vehicle, or use an FM transmitter. An FM Transmitter is usually the easiest, and cheapest, method, but finding a good transmitter is difficult. I’ve tried a number of different ones with about ten percent success.
Durability is the biggest trouble with transmitters, followed by an acceptable radio signal. Thankfully, this Geartist Bluetooth hands-free car kit ($27.99) provides quality sound without an exceptionally high price.
Simple setup and design
Geartist is a three-component system: FM/Bluetooth transmitter, adhesive magnetic base, and USB charger.
I ditched the USB charger since I use this charger for charging up to four different devices. The included two-port USB charger works just fine — use the 2A port for phones/tablets and the 1A port for the transmitter.
Perhaps the hardest portion of the setup process is finding an unused FM radio station. In rural markets this would be easy, but in congested metropolitan markets, good luck. I found that 97.7 gives a very clear signal in our area. I’m sure I’ll have to switch stations when a new one comes on line.
One of the biggest problems with Bluetooth devices, or in-car Bluetooth in general, is that call quality suffers significantly. Between road noise and microphone distance, some devices sound like a muffled mess.
I’ve participated in a number of in-car phone calls, and the folks on the other line haven’t been disappointed. Yes, there’s still the road noise, but this Geartist system does a great job of limiting the exterior noise and maximizing the voice.
Of course, if you read the product description on Amazon, you’d probably never buy this product:
he latest Bluetooth 4.0 (fully backward compatible) for full-speed transmission and low power consumption. he latest Bluetooth 4.0 (fully backward compatible) for full-speed transmission and low power consumption . he latest Bluetooth 4.0 (fully backward compatible) for full-speed transmission and low power consumption
-Provide a simple hands-free solution for answering and receiving phone calls and streaming music from your Bluetooth-enabled phones while on the go
-After checked many similar product review which complain noisy voice, echo and noise cancelling technology supply a more clear call quality. .Trouble shooting steps, 1. long press and play button, after led flash, connect with your cellphone by bluetooth. (First bluetooth, then FM) 2. Press FM button, the LCD screen flash, find a blank station from your car, then adjust the GB01 to the same channel. 3. If ok, presee FM button to confirm.
That’s “said in context.” But never fear, this is a great Bluetooth system for on-the-go communication and media.
I’m waiting for summer
The magnetic base provides a simple way to hold the transmitter in place. The 3M adhesive creates a strong bond that’s designed to last awhile.
However, I am skeptical about whether this adhesive will last through a hot summer in the car. I’m guessing the internal temperature in vehicle would melt the adhesive and lose stickiness. I’ll wait and see.
Ultimately, I’m happy with this system. I’ve owned a number of different devices, and this is the best one. At $27.99, this device is pricier than others, but you won’t be disappointed by the cost.
I’ve owned this receiver and system for over 1 year now. The receiver works perfectly, though having to compete for a free FM station is a pain. I found two free stations that I can toggle between, which seem to help keep down the static. Also, the receiver allows you to toggle between stations in one digit increments. Thus, you can fine tune your frequency when needed.
Although I was skeptical about the adhesive holding together, its performed marvelously. I haven’t seen any signs that the magnetic base will ever leave my car.
On the other hand, the LCD screen in the receiver has vanished, except on cold mornings. The LCD couldn’t stand up to the temperatures in the car. I’m left with a receiver base that shows a bunch of zeros, and I’m left to divine their meaning.
Originally published November 3, 2015.