HTC StereoClip provides wireless audio for those without Bluetooth automobiles (review)

HTC StereoClip provides wireless audio for those without Bluetooth automobiles (review)

Summary: I enjoy listening to podcasts and music in my car, but don't have Bluetooth and am tired of having a cable lying around and limiting where I can rest my smartphone. HTC has a slick accessory for audiophiles, but it is priced about twice as much as it should be.

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  • HTC StereoClip retail package

    I spent a couple days meeting with HTC last fall in New York and a couple weeks after that meeting they sent along one of their HTC StereoClip accessories to test out. I finally had a chance to test out the StereoClip in my truck and have been enjoying podcasts and music from several smartphones over the past couple of weeks.

    Many new vehicles have integrated Bluetooth radios so you can enjoy music, podcasts, and calls wirelessly. However, there are still millions of us with older vehicles that do not have Bluetooth and yet do not have cassette players for those adapters either. My 2007 Dodge Ram truck has a 3.5mm auxiliary port and in the past I have connected my smartphones via cable to enjoy podcasts and music. However, it is not the "cleanest" solution and my phone often ends up sliding around the seat or console area or I have to prop open my console storage compartment as my phone rests in there to charge while a cable connects it to my stereo. The HTC StereoClip is a small Bluetooth adapter that plugs directly into your 3.5mm audio jack (in your car or home stereo system) and provides Bluetooth connectivity to these older audio systems.

    In the past I used Nokia devices with FM transmitters to listen to podcasts in the car, but it was always tough to find a station that was clear enough to provide decent audio quality. The benefit here is that no station has to be found and you simply switch to auxiliary mode and enjoy the audio from your smartphone. The HTC StereoClip is a small device, the same size as many USB thumb drives, that comes with a cap that protects the 3.5mm male end. The cap has an opening so you can store it on your keychain, but I just take it off and put it in my center console compartment.

  • Package contents of the HTC StereoClip

    The HTC StereoClip charges up via standard microUSB (a cable is included too) and it last me at least a week since I listen to podcasts and audio for about 30 minutes a day in the car. The stated playback time is 5 hours and that seems about right. Standby time is advertised at 120 hours. There is a small indicator light on the end next to the microUSB port that shows you the status of the device. It uses green lights for telling you it is on and when it is in pairing mode. The light blinks red when it needs a charge and glows red for a second when you press and hold the control button to turn it off. The control button is used to turn it on and off and enable pairing mode.

    It was simple to setup and pair the HTC StereoClip with several HTC and non-HTC smartphones and all you need is Bluetooth to connect. The StereoClip features Bluetooth 2.1+EDR with the aptX codec for even higher quality audio output. I used it with an HTC Droid DNA, HTC 8X, Nokia Lumia 920, and Samsung Galaxy Note II. If you have a selected HTC device with the HTC Car app (the Droid DNA does not have this for some reason), then you can even setup your phone to auto-pair with the StereoClip.

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Topics: Mobility, HTC, Reviews, Smartphones

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3 comments
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  • Half-way there. How about considering stepping up to hands-free?

    I thought about using the car deck's 3.5mm aux jack with my phone. But it wasn't the audio cable that was the major hangup for me - it was the limited hands-free functionality that was inherent with going the 3.5 jack route that convinced me to upgrade my car deck to a Bluetooth-enabled deck.

    Here's the points around the additional, built-in deck Bluetooth functionality that prompted me to go to the next step (considering everything else was equivalent between cable vs Bluetooth for sound quality and audio playback capabilities - including hearing GPS voice navigation).

    1. Enables control of cell device's song skip, pause, play via deck interface.
    2. Enables hands-free, voice commanded outbound calling and receiving calls.
    3. Enables voice commanded outbound voice to text and inbound text to voice for handsfree text messaging.
    4. In the article's suggested approach, I don't have to be concerned with a 3.5mm aux Bluetooth wireless adapter's battery level - especially in very cold climates. Deck (and Bluetooth) is powered from car auto power system.
    5. I am left with one cable needed to charge the mounted phone (especially important when using the phone and deck for GPS voice navigation because of the battery draw) using a minimum 1.0 amp charger.

    One BIG warning when considering this approach - buyer beware on car deck Bluetooth capabilities. I have tried Clarion, Pioneer, Sony, Kenwood, JVC, Clarion, and Alpine decks in the last year. Except for Sony, none of them managed to offer the complete functionality for handsfree usage (especially for the text messaging ability). But, I spent $130 on a Sony MEX-BT4100P (plus another $25 in mounting cables and adapters) and replaced my stock deck in my Highlander.

    I am now very happy with everything I can do between my cell phone and deck in a handsfree manner with quality sound. Was the handsfree usefulness worth the upgrade cost? Yes!
    achilles heal
  • Maybe this is cheaper

    I bought, an XtremeMac product called "InCharge Auto BT" that's a cigarette lighter adapter that has one USB port to use for charging and a 2.5mm audio out cable that plugs into your vehicles AUX IN port. The device was less than $30 (on sale, $70 list) and it works well. Just thought I'd let you know that there are potentially cheaper solutions out there if you keep your eyes open and find the right sale.
    christopher.rodgers@...
  • Curious...

    ...to know if you had to do anything "magical" to get the audio to play from your DNA? I have the StereoClip as well but can't get these two devices to play nice.

    I would buy the StereoClip again, IMO it's well worth the price for getting in the car an not having to worry about wires. There's no competition for it, so while $60 is a bit steep - whaddayagonnado? ;-)
    robdown