Recently I purchased an older car. When I say old, I mean old. It’s a 1999 Chevy Express Conversion van that’s in great condition. I love it, but I’ve got to admit, modern technology has crept into my everyday life. As such, the one thing this vehicle is missing is Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free driving. I don’t need it to listen to such things as Spotify (my daughter’s preference). I just need it to answer the phone on those rare occasions when it rings while I’m driving.
I do not want to buy a new radio. The current sound system is great. The prior owner upgraded the speakers and the radio has almost everything I need. Fortunately, I’m able to add Bluetooth hands-free driving functionality for much less than it would cost for me to install a Bluetooth compatible radio.
VicTsing Hands-Free Driving Bluetooth FM Transmitter
For less than $20 I purchased the VicTsing Bluetooth FM transmitter (Amazon affiliate link). This little device plugs into the cigarette lighter and is easy to set up. Just turn it on, set it to pairing mode. Then go to the phone and pair it T26 (in my case). Once the device is paired with the phone, all I had to do was tune my car radio and the VicTsing transmitter to the same blank station (I used 88.6) and voila! I could make and answer calls from the transmitter.
While the VicTsing worked as it should and everyone I spoke to on the phone through the transmitter said they heard me clearly without static. Unfortunately, on my side, my sound wasn’t as clear. There was low-key static. The static wasn’t bad enough to make me cut the phone call short, but it wasn’t something I wanted to deal with. Also, when I tested the device by listening to an audiobook, the sound wasn’t very full. The static might have been human error on my part so I don’t fully blame the device.
The other problem I had with the device, and this isn’t the device’s fault either, is that the screen is too small for me. At my age, I need things large. That’s why I use the iPhone 6s Plus. It’s large enough for me to see what’s going on. The VicTsing’s screen was too small for me. The size of the screen coupled with the fact that I use it while driving is an accident waiting to happen in my opinion.
I really didn’t want a device I needed to fiddle with in order to talk or listen to audiobooks. If I have to fiddle with it, it’s not hands-free driving. This grandma uses reading glasses and would have to put them on in order to see the screen’s interface. Too much fiddling. As such, I gave the VicTsing to my much younger, perfect visioned daughter. It’s a great device for the price, but just not for this grandma.
Simpler and Easier Hands-Free Driving
After my experience with the VicTsing, I had to take a moment and list my requirements. I didn’t need something with a fancy screen, aux in, micro SD card capability or additional USB inputs (all of which the VicTsing had). I just wanted something that would allow me to answer my phone, adjust the volume and hear clearly without static. I wanted the person I’m chatting with to hear me clearly just like I’d like to hear him/her clearly. Also, I wanted clear sound from my audiobooks. With those requirements in mind, I went searching again and found a Bluetooth speaker.
As you can see from the image, it’s simple. Here are the features:
- On/Off button
- Answer/End button
- Volume up/Volume down
This simple little device clips on the visor. As such, it’s close enough so the microphone picks up my voice clearly and the speaker is right above my head so I hear things clearly. The volume control is a simple press on the plus or minus button. I could also control the volume from my actual phone, but I find the speaker device to be enough.
After pairing it, I tested it with a phone call and audiobook. It worked just fine (no fiddling). The cigarette lighter charger has slots to charge up to two USB devices to boot. No, you do not get Bose quality sound from it, but for $21 bucks, you get what you get. It works, it’s simple and this Low Tech Grandma is happy with it.
Update 7/20/18: My daughter didn’t like the VicTsing. She had problems with static also. As a matter of fact, the static was worse in her car than mine. Guess it’s a thumbs down for the VicTsing Bluetooth FM Transmitter