Consumer Tech: amazing little Bluetooth adapter for your car

Intro
My old car I decided finally needed a touch of Bluetooth connectivity. But how to do it without spending a fortune?

The details
I found this amazingly inexpensive gadget on Amazon that describes itself as follows: Handsfree Call Car Charger,Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio Receiver&Mp3 Music Stereo Adapter,Dual USB Port Charger Compatible for All Smartphones,Samsung Galaxy,LG,HTC,etc.

I guess it’s normally $16 but I bought on Cyber Monday so it was about $12. 12 dollars! I think if I had gone to the dealer for an after-market solution it would have been $500.

The bad first
Let’s get the bad out of the way, bearing in mind my expectations were rather low so I may be leaving out some obvious “of course it doesn’t have that…” type of stuff.

This device does an FM broadcast and you pick an unoccupied FM frequency to listen to it. On the other side it connects to a Bluetooth device such as a phone. In IT terms I’d call it a gateway since it converts one protocl to another (Bluetooth to FM). Having read the reviews, but not finding anything addressing my interests, my idea was to continue to use my FM stations, and put the station used by this device on a preset so when a call comes in to my phone I hit the station preset and accept the call on the device.
Well, you basically can’t listen to other FM stations as long as this thing is powered up. So even tuned to 88.7 at the far end of the dial, it interferes with stations up and down the dial for some reason. It’ not impossible but you’d have to have a high tolerance for static to use it that way.

Also, I’ve read that these little things break on some people after a few months. But I would no feel cheated, remember, low expectations?

The good
– microphone is good
– compatible with Samsung
– capable of audio program controls
– boots up quickly, maybe 10 seconds

My solution
I only really listen to NPR. I tried the WNYC app in the Playstore. I used to think it was buggy – stopping at random times. But I’ve had good luck my first few trips. Plays great through this thing! In many ways it’s better than FM because I don’t have to change NPR stations as I drive to work, etc, and its signal is often better. There is some static background however. Now my phone GPS talks to me through the speakers (it used to be silent in the car).

The unknown
Not sure about outbound calls to much. If you hit the button twice it seems to call the last dialed number. There are these settings U01, U02, U30. maybe those are for speed dialing?
Precisely why it has to so broadly interfere with all FM stations is a mystery.

Being a thoughtful person, I also wonder what it does to the FM reception of cars around me, ha ha? Could they pick up my call? Now that I think of it, I do remember hearing someone’s phone call on my FM radio once, many years ago. Use of an aux cord would be a way around that, but this little device does not support that.

The amazing
How cuold they pack all this tech, make something that basically works as it’s supposed to, and sell it for $12? I’m in awe.

References and related
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M0SFMIH/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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