Review: TrailBlazer Bluetooth Car Kit & FM Transmitter

TrailBlazer FM Kit

 

What is it?

Probably the most versatile car accessory we have tried so far. Plugging into your car’s cigarette lighter, it transmits FM to your car’s radio, and pairs with your phone using Bluetooth. This allows you to make and receive calls while driving, using your car’s sound system. You can also listen to music using a USB, microSD card, or through an AUX (3.5mm) input. Also included are handy remotes, one that can attach to your steering wheel, and another that can be held anywhere in the car.

TrailBlazer Remote

 

Look and feel

The FM transmitter itself comes with a cigarette lighter attachment, which means it is powered on as soon as you power your car. Located on a flexible neck, the device itself can be adjusted to how you like it. It features a screen which gives you basic information, your FM transmitter frequency, and call information as well as music information when using it. Also included are a few buttons to make/take calls, and adjust your music.

There is included an on/off button on the cigarette lighter end, meaning you can turn this off if needed. Particularly handy if your car’s cigarette lighter is always on.

A wireless remote for the steering wheel can be attached using a Velco setup. While initially a bit sceptical, this has lasted a whole week of intense driving (don’t ask) and is not budging. It includes buttons for few basic controls, which prove to be handy on the steering wheel.

The second remote is a bit more intensive, allowing you to dial numbers, adjust modes (line in, aux, USB, micro SD) for music play, transfer call to your phone, and make and receive calls.

All in all, you get a lot for your buck, and the features are definitely impressive.

Setup

The only setup required is for the Bluetooth pairing. Once you plug it in, it is ready to be paired. You just need to search for Bluetooth devices on your phone, connect to this, and off you go. Next time you get in your car, the moment your ignition fires up, this is good to go.

FM Transmitter/Sound Quality

Now we have tried a lot of FM transmitters in our car in the past. Going from the cheaper options to the more expensive ones. Sadly pretty much everything we have tried has disappointed. You get a lot of distortion, and they often don’t perform very well if the car is moving fast. Now this may be also differ from car to car, but that was our general consensus.

So, we plugged this in accepting it to be a bit ordinary, or just purely functional. We were wrong! The sound is amazing, and there is no distortion at all. We played music through a USB drive, and mostly you wouldn’t notice that it was being transmitted through an FM transmitter. Worked well both at high speed as well as normal city driving. Only distortion that we got, very minor at that, was if you touched the transmitter.

In fact, this device gets a recommendation from us based purely on its ability as an FM Transmitter for music.

Call quality

Every time you get a call, the RDS displays the number on your radio (if your car radio is happy to take that kind of info). Pressing the button on the remote or the device accepts the call, and pressing again will hang up.

It tends to tell you that a call is being received, or is connected, in those words, which can be a bit annoying at times, but it is useful information nonetheless.

Since the sound goes through your car’s sound system, the quality is good, and the volume is only limited by your car’s own speaker system.

Not all was perfect though, as we found people complained that the sound seemed to come from far away, and just wasn’t as good as using a usual headset/speakerphone arrangement. This is probably because generally this is quite low, and now in line with your mouth.

We have the good, what is the bad?

Not much more than what we mentioned above really. The microphone could be improved, and the power button will be needed for usage if you have a permanently on car cigarette lighter. Another thing is that it will take up a slot permanently in your car, so you won’t be able to use other items, such as sat nav car chargers. There is a USB slot if that works, but it may not always be the case.

Buying information

This can be found under the XPERIA Z1 Car Holders Accessory section  at Mobile Fun:

http://www.mobilefun.co.uk/trailblazer-bluetooth-car-kit-fm-transmitter-p23122.htm

While it generally retails for £49.99, there is a sale on and you can grab one of these for £29.95.

Verdict

As we mentioned above, it gets a good grade from us based purely on it FM Transmitting abilities. Throw in the Bluetooth music abilities, the USB/AUX/micro SD card compatibility, and a complete connected car handsfree system, and you’re looking at quite a lot. The price is great too, and if you only use the phone in the car occasionally, you can ignore the microphone not being great. This one is definitely staying in the car.

 

Sami Mughalhttps://www.oxgadgets.com
Can be found somewhere between designing new tech as an electronics engineer or testing new tech as a technology enthusiast. Lives mostly on Twitter, and would love to have a word with you there as @smacula.

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