New Toy: Sony ‘Mechless’ Head Unit (DSX-A50BT)
I just couldn’t help myself, when I saw a Bluetooth car receiver for $99AUD, I had to spring for it. I got into a tiny bit of trouble by not even running the idea past Sabriena beforehand, but it was worth it. This thing was an amazing deal.
We were previously making do with a really low-end Sony head unit with a front auxiliary in. They must have been cheap, because they’re everywhere - the panelvan had one too when I bought it. The front-in works with Spotify, but it has it’s drawbacks. First of all, if you turn the car or the stereo off, you don’t know the phone’s ringing. Second, changing tracks and so on means picking up the phone, which I’m loath to do.
Finally, the Bluetooth hands-free thing that Dad picked up from ALDI is patently terrible. You can’t hear anything, the battery doesn’t stay charged, and it won’t automatically unpair when the motor’s off.
So naturally, this thing sounds like it will fit the bill. The documentation pre-sale didn’t entirely convince me that it would do what I wanted it to do, nor was I convinced that Spotify would play along even with the new Bluetooth Audio stuff in Android 4.3. Most of these head units work really well with an iPhone, but not so much with Android, which is pretty idiotic considering that Android makes up up to 80% of the smartphone market.
Installation was a breeze, as I already knew how the slide-out keys work and Sony at least saw fit to standardize their connectors (in fact I think a lot of brands are all using the same connector, because I seem to recall Alpine head units using the same pinouts). Slide the old unit out, slide the new one in. We’re ready to go. Pair the phone to the head unit over Bluetooth, and inside of ten minutes I’m bumping Spotify over Bluetooth.
I’m extremely happy to report that Spotify behaves almost perfectly over AVRCP - it does not appear to display the “track name” 9 times out of 10, but the Artist and Album names always come up. You can skip, pause, and everything else over it. You make or receive a call, and it pauses the music and automatically starts it again when you hang up.
I’m really happy with it.