I picked up the Belkin AirCast about a month ago to replace an old, broken down, car kit I had been using. My previous kit had a cradle with a dock connector on the bottom to charge my iPhone, and a plastic hook that went over the top and held it down while a head set style jack plugged into the iPhone’s head set jack. This worked fine for quite a while, but had problems with different case styles, and the plastic just didn’t hold up.
Eventually, it came time to replace it, and since my car doesn’t have bluetooth built in, this Belkin looked to be the perfect solution. So far, its been pretty good. Lets go into some more detail:
The basic setup is a puck that contains all the important bits, with a cable that runs to a split. On one side of the split is a standard headphone jack for connecting to the AUX input of your car stereo, and on the other is a standard 12 volt cigarette lighter plug. The plug also has a USB port so you can connect a charging cable, which is not included.
Initial pairing is easy, and once it’s paired, all that is needed is to hit the button once you start your car. It will auto connect, and start playing your music automatically1.
The microphone seems fairly clear and it cancels out the voice output signal, so you don’t get an echo, but you do tend to pick up a good deal of road noise. Finding the best position for the puck (which contains the microphone) seems to be key here.
Controlling the calls is as simple as it is with any bluetooth headset: push the button to pick up, push it again to hang up. If you hold it down for a two Mississippi and let go, it will activate Voice Actions (on the iPhone 4), or Siri and you can voice dial, or you can pick the phone up to start a call.
For controlling music, its much the same as other headsets or car kits. Again, hit the button to play, hit it again to pause. A double hit skips forward, but the timing is a bit hard to get down. The sound is clear and I can’t discern any quality loss over a physical connection, but I’m just using a stock car stereo.
We’ll see how long it holds up, but so far, functionally, it’s been great. Being able to simply jump in the car, pair, and then start playing my music with out having to take the phone out of my pocket is glorious. The voice capabilities are also head and shoulders above what my previous car kits have had. All-in-all I think its been a good $66.
This stopped working for me about 2 weeks after getting it. It suddenly required me to hit the button again after it paired with the phone to start playing music, like it would pair then pause the music. Strange. ↩