If you have an older radio system in your car or maybe a newer one without Bluetooth support, you may be looking for ways to add Bluetooth capabilities without buying a whole new radio. Bluetooth FM transmitters are perfect for that. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and forms; some plug into your car’s cigarette lighter while others plug into your actual device.
In this article we’ll be looking at the iHreesy Bluetooth FM transmitter. It plugs into a cigarette lighter and also doubles as a car charger, thanks to the one of the USB ports on top (output 5V/2/1A) – the other is a USB reader. Additionally, it has a built-in microphone, allowing you to receive calls while driving.
If you have an MP3 you can connect it to the transmitter via a 3.5mm audio cable. If you prefer to listen to music from a micro-SD card or flash drive, you can do that as well thanks to the micro-SD card slot on the side or via the second USB port (in between the first one and the LCD screen). As you can see, this Bluetooth FM transmitter is full of features.
What’s in the Box
Inside the box you’ll find the Bluetooth FM transmitter, an audio cable, a remote control (for easy navigation while driving), and an instruction manual. I found that the instruction manual wasn’t needed; it’s very easy to set up and use.
Setup and Usage
As mentioned above, the Bluetooth FM transmitter is a breeze to set up. You simply plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter and connect to the station displayed on the little LCD screen. Now, mine had already chosen an empty station, so I didn’t have to do any tweaking. However, if the displayed station isn’t a good choice, you can switch to a new one by pressing the “M” button and using the dial or the back/forward buttons.
Speaking of buttons, the back/forward buttons also work when listening to music, and the dial also works for turning the volume up/down. There is a button on the dial (with a phone icon) that works as a play/pause button and is also used to answer/hang up calls. The head of the transmitter is also movable thanks to the flexible joint; you can move it up and down or side to side so that it’s at the perfect angle for whoever is using/viewing it.
You’ll know that the transmitter is ready to be paired with your device because it will actually tell you so through your car speakers. It will say something like, “the Bluetooth device is ready to be paired” (paraphrasing). Once you find it under Bluetooth devices on your phone or tablet, you can connect. Once connected, it will again speak through the speakers, letting you know that it has been connected successfully.
Now you’re ready to listen to music, watch a video, or whatever else you choose. As an Amazon Prime member, I like to use the Amazon Prime Music app. After listening to music through the transmitter for a couple of hours, I can honestly say that the sound quality is great. There wasn’t any static, skipping, or any other type of issues.
I do, however, have one tip: don’t turn the volume up to the max on both your device and the transmitter; one has to give. I had the volume all the way up on my device and on the transmitter while using the actual car radio volume knob to turn it up even more. What a huge mistake! My husband and I traveled an hour to our destination with the volume going in/out and up/down the entire time – kind of like a yo-yo effect. It was bearable but annoying.
It wasn’t until we drove an hour back home that I finally figured out that turning the volume level down on the actual transmitter got rid of the problem completely. The volume was consistent and stayed at the same level. So, at least for me, it’s apparent that you can’t have the volume maxed out on both – one needs to be a bit lower than the other. You can see the volume level on the transmitter’s LDC screen as you turn the dial up/down. The volume goes up to 30, so I turned it down to 20, and that was perfect.
The iHreesy Bluetooth FM transmitter has a great design and just about perfect functionality and sound. Besides the volume issue, I can’t find one thing about it that doesn’t work as expected.
I also love the addition of the remote control. Since my husband and I were in the car together, it was easy for me to control it while he drove. However, the remote is a much safer option when driving alone. It offers even more control because it allows you to go directly to a song number (if you happen to know it); plus, you can change the playback mode and change the EQ settings. It’s definitely a nice little bonus accessory.
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox