A Bluetooth hands-free car unit that "just works"...
Aug 25, 2013
I got a chance to test out a new Bluetooth car receiver that looked interesting... the BrightPlay Car HD Bluetooth Hands Free Car Kit with aptX Technology from Brightech. Usually I find the Bluetooth car units somewhat cumbersome to set up, get paired, and then use, all without having to pull over and stumble through it all. The BrightPlay unit was the first one I've had that "just worked"... I had it functioning in about 15 seconds, and it worked exactly like I expected it should.
The receiver disk is a couple of inches across and a little over a half inch in thickness. The main function button is a round disk that is placed on the top of the receiver, and is perfect for finding and pressing without looking down at it. The side of the receiver has the on/off sliding button, the jack for the 3.5mm audio cable, and the micro-USB charging port. On the back is the magnet that allows you to mount the receiver anywhere on the dash that's convenient.
To give this a run-through, I used my iPhone 4 and went to the Bluetooth screen. When I turned on the BrightPlay, my phone found it and paired up in less than five seconds. Already it was a hit in my eyes with no complicated pairing routine. I then plugged the auxiliary cable into the receiver and the car's auxiliary jack. I fired up a phone call to my wife, and the call clarity was excellent. I also flipped to the music on my iPhone and started it playing. Again, very clear connection and excellent sound quality.
The only thing I was going to downgrade it on was the magnetic mounting directions. Because I didn't read it very clearly, I thought you were supposed to just place the receiver anywhere there was metal and you'd be set. Given that many dashboards these days are plastic, I didn't see that as being very realistic. It wasn't until I was back in the house that I found that the magnet on the back came off, and that mine had been upside down (only showing the solid black side). In reality, that disk has adhesive on one side, and you mount the disk on the dashboard. You then just put the receiver on the disk, where it says put via the magnet. A d'oh moment for me, but it took away the last thing that I could say about the BrightPlay that wasn't five-star in nature.
If you need or want to have Bluetooth connectivity in your car for your smart phone (either for calling or listening to music without cables), the BrightPlay is an excellent choice for a very good price. And, if you're getting questions from a non-techie person (imagine your parents) who want to use a hands-free setup in their car, *definitely* consider this unit. It's easy to set up, they can't do much to screw it up, and you'll likely reduce your need to be on-call tech support by 90%. :)
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more