TuneLink: An almost perfect Bluetooth proxy for your car

Please note that I have never reviewed a product, so bare with me.
But I truly felt this one deserved one, so, here it goes. You can find the review I posted at Amazon here: Amazon Review Permalink.

TuneLink

TuneLink

The TuneLink is a cigarette lighter adapter that you can use in your car to stream music from any AD2P compatible/capable device.
It is capable of synching with your device via Bluetooth and then transmitting the audio to your car stereo either via an FM transmitter of through a direct 3.5mm stereo cable connection.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Well, if it only worked…

When I first received my TuneLink, I plugged it into my SUV’s cigarette lighter port and my iPhone recognized immediately and started playing music… for 3 seconds.

I unplugged it and then plugged it back, but this time the TuneLink was no longer discoverable. After many tries, I soon found out that I had to leave it unplugged for a few minutes and then it would become discoverable again but, upon trying to play music the whole cycle would start again.

So I contacted New Potato Technologies and they told me that I had to return it in order to get a new one back.

But I live in the Dominican Republic, not the US, and sending this tiny device would cost me around $70-$75 dollars which is almost the full purchase price.

Although support was fast to reply to emails and they were very nice and courteous, they didn’t provide me with any alternatives.

So, I had to wait for a friend to travel to the US and have him send it to New Potato Technologies.

About two weeks later I received the unit.

This time I was able to play music and discovery worked rather consistently.

Unfortunately, I have found out that this device suffers from some serious stability and reliability issues. One day it will work flawlessly but the next I won’t be able o use it no matter what I try (different cars, different phones/devices).

Also, on the days it decides to work, I have to make sure that I don’t turn on and off the car too many times and if I do, I should leave the unit to rest for a couple of minutes before restoring power to it, otherwise, it becomes undetectable and there’s no way to connect to it.

A couple of days ago I decided to request a refund and was instructed that I should process it via Amazon, which also requires me to return the unit!!!

So here I am stuck with a gadget that cost me almost US$90.00, with a lunatic behavioral disorder, that I can only use as an in-car USB charger.

But, when it works, the experience is very nice as you enter your car, turn it on, and music starts to “magically” play off the phone in your pocket.

Pros:

  • The thing I liked the most, is its super powerful FM transmitter.
    Sure the audio quality sucks, but that’s to be expected.
  • It’s small and looks nice.
  • The Bluetooth range is surprisingly good.
  • The USB port to charge your phone is a plus.
  • The ability to select the FM station using the iPhone app is awesome and works flawlessly.
  • I tested it with one iPhone and two BlackBerry’s and it worked (when it worked) perfectly.

Cons:

  • A US$90.00 gadget that offers functionality based on some pretty well established technology, should simply work.
    These stability issues make this device completely useless.
  • The 3.5mm stereo cable that ships with the unit is too short.
  • Knowing this device would suffer from interferences from your car engine, New Potato Technologies should have implement a basic filter into the device… you know? a capacitor…
  • Although you can adjust the volume of the FM transmitter, the unit’s output levels are, in general, too low, even when using the stereo cable connection.
  • Too expensive.
  • Even using the cable connection, the quality of the audio is quite low.

 

Verdict:

Don’t buy.
And avoid it at all costs
(until a new revised version is released).