Price (RRP): $130
The Belkin AirCast Auto is a small transmitter device designed to wirelessly route your phone calls and music Apple iThings through to your car stereo, with an emphasis on simple installation and operation.
To connect, you need to daisy-chain everything together: the AirCast Auto charger fits into the cigarette lighter socket, the iPhone fits into the USB input on the charger and the Aux lead fits into your stereo’s auxiliary audio input. This may be on the head-unit itself, or as is increasingly common in recent-model cars, tucked away in a console between the front seats.
The back mount for the small, circular transmitter/microphone unit is magnetic, so all you do is remove the sticky-back plastic, stick it where you want the microphone and you’re done. If you want to take the unit with you, you just pull the unit away from the mount.
You pair your phone with the AirCast unit by holding the button until it starts flashing, have your phone search for new Bluetooth devices, select AirCast Auto then type in the pairing password. You’ll know the pairing is successful if the light on the button changes to a solid blue. Connect the cable to the Aux input on your stereo, switch to Aux and you’ll hear the audio come through the car stereo.
The main feature is obviously connecting your phone with your car stereo via Bluetooth and, with one major caveat, the AirCast Auto is very successful in that respect. Physical setup is a breeze and resultant quality is great, but if you don’t have an auxiliary input for the stereo in your car, which you very well may not have if your car is a few years old, you’re bang out of luck. We had to look in our car, a relative’s rental and then a friend’s brand new sedan before the latter coughed up a 3.5mm Aux input to accommodate the AirCast Auto.
The other main features of the AirCast Auto are handsfree calling and charging of your iDevice; both fine in execution, provided you put the button mount in a sensible place to begin with to pick up your voice. On an incoming call, the light flashes blue, so just press the button on the unit and it’s connected.
If you’re a crazy socialite and get a second incoming call, a tap of the button will answer that call, and a further tap will switch between the two, with a double-tap ending the call in progress. If you’re playing music, the AirCast will automatically pause playback on an incoming phone call.
The AirCast Auto is a neat and efficient wireless audio solution for your car, provided your car has an auxiliary audio input fitted.