There’s this idea that FM transmitters are just awful for listening to content from your phone while in the car. I can say that I’ve had experiences that lend credence to this. The original Zune FM transmitter was simply awful. Constant static and no matter what frequency you put it on, it seemed as though there was always interference.
You can’t lump an entire product group into a class after just one experience however and I’m glad I came back to trying FM transmitters. My current job means I spend about half of my day driving and not being able to listen to my music or podcasts was simply killing me. Since it’s a company vehicle, there’s no option of hard wiring a solution in place. A wireless transmitter was the only way to go. Couple that with the fact that this particular vehicle has wiring issues that prevent me from charging my phone while listening and well, there you have the reason for wanting Bluetooth.
After searching around for a economical solution, I stumbled across the BCT8 Bluetooth FM Transmitter on Amazon. I’m usually wary of ordering these types of devices online since I’m not sure how they’ll work and going through the return process is always a hassle no matter how easy the company makes it. Once I read the reviews however, I decided it was worth it to give the device a shot.
The BCT8 is a full featured device that should provide everything you need to use your phone or other media player in your vehicle. Besides receiving Bluetooth connections, the device also has 3.5mm in and out ports and a USB port for charging your devices. The gooseneck is flexible and allows you to position the BCT8 where you need it. As well, I have yet to have an issue when moving the gooseneck as far as losing power. The connection to your car’s power port is solid and the BCT8 shouldn’t move on you.
The BCT8 ships with the device itself and a small instruction booklet that helps you get it connected with your phone or other device. This works like most others however and is quick and easy. Just tell your phone to search for devices and hold down the phone button on the BCT8. Done. Once setup, your phone should connect each time you turn on the BCT8 and are in range.
The fact that the BCT8 handles both media and phone connections was a bonus for me. I was really only looking to listen to media but being able to take hands-free calls while driving is great. Using the BCT8, you can connect to the last call made as well has hang up on your current call. Media controls allow you to skip forward and back while listening as well as play and pause your media. A dial on top of the device sets the FM frequency. Simple controls but really all you need. Depending on the layout of your vehicle, the gooseneck design keeps the BCT8 in easy reach so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to use the functions.
One complaint I have about the layout of the device is the frequency knob. It sticks out far enough that you can end up hitting it while changing tracks or pausing your media. I’ve done this several times and it gets annoying when you’re suddenly hearing static due to turning it slightly. Once most people have a frequency set, they tend to leave it so it makes more sense to me to place this somewhere else. Put the thing where I’m not going to change frequencies by mistake.
There are occasional delays when changing tracks. At times I would have to hit the skip button twice to get my phone to respond. Whether this is a phone or BCT8 issue is unknown but it’s rare occurrence and doesn’t take anything away from using the device.
I must admit, I was thoroughly surprised by the quality of the audio I get using the BCT8. The FM transmitter is strong enough to over power most local stations even where I live. (We get signals from both the US and Canada so the dial is pretty crowded.) You may have issues if you’re in a large metropolitan area but so far so good. Not a bit of static or radio station bleed through. The only time I’ve had an issue is (again) when changing tracks and mistakenly hitting the frequency button. When it’s on station however, you shouldn’t hear anything but your media.
Speaking of playback, the music and podcasts I’ve listened to have sounded great. Obviously the quality of the vehicle’s sound system plays a role here but I can’t complain about the quality of the audio I’ve been listening to. Podcasts are crisp, clear and easy to hear. Music maintains its fidelity in the system. Again, the quality of your music and the vehicle system come into play but I really can’t complain. I get zero interference and the tunes never drop out.
When it comes to phone calls, the BCT8 performs perfectly. No matter how loud I’ve had someone coming through the vehicle speakers, they don’t get an echo and can hear me well. Mileage may vary depending on your vehicle’s layout however. My work vehicle is arranged as such that the mic isn’t far away. If you’re power connection is low (such as in my car) there could be issues. Suffice to say that I have yet to have anyone complain to me about the call quality while using the BCT8.
The fact is that a hardwired connection is always better and if that’s an option for you, I would suggest you take it. That said, if you don’t have that option, the BCT8 is a solid Bluetooth FM transmitter that will allow you to listen to decent quality media while obeying those new laws popping up regarding phone calls and driving. I’ve been using the transmitter for approx. 4 hours a day for over a month now and I love it. Enough so that I’m considering a second one for the family car. If you need a wireless solution for music in your car, the BCT8 is exactly what you’re looking for.