Here’s a neat little device that solves a problem I’ve encountered – say you own a car built between the years of 2001 – 2010. You know, that fantastic time period where iPods were ubiquitous and automotive manufacturers installed the 30-pin iPod connector in every one of their vehicles. This was also the same time period before those manufacturers really grasped all of the capabilities that Bluetooth had to offer.
Fast forward to today and that outdated factory 30 pin iPod connector looks pretty silly sitting next to your Android device or your new iPhone 5 with the Lightning connector. Sure, I still have an old iPod plugged in and running like a champ but I want to stream Internet Radio. I also want to download new music while on a road trip for instant gratification.
The good people at CoolStream understand these desires and set out to solve the problem with a sleek, affordable Bluetooth receiver that plugs straight into your old iPod 30 pin connector or even a standard 3.5 mm audio jack.
I’ve been testing the CoolStream Duo for several weeks now and I’ll start off by saying the sound quality is absolutely amazing. I notice no difference between plugging my old 3GS iPhone into the 30 Pin connector vs. playing the same music over the CoolStream Duo.
The Duo works well with a lot of factory-equipped 30-Pin iPod connectors but be advised that if your hardware locks out your iPod controls, the Duo may not be able to transmit sound over your 30-Pin connector, but the internal battery will still charge. CoolStream did take this into consideration during design and include a standard 3.5 mm stereo auxiliary jack as well as a 5-hour internal lithium battery.
As a result, the Duo can be connected and powered in several configurations:
1. 30-Pin iPod connector charges and plays audio.
2. 30-Pin iPod connector charges and 3.5 mm jack plays audio through your car’s auxiliary input.
3. No 30-Pin iPod connector? You can use the internal battery or get a 30-Pin Car Charger cable for power and use the 3.5 mm jack for audio.
Despite the multiple ways of going about it, installing the CoolStream Duo is simple and connecting to the CoolStream Duo once installed is even easier. Simply navigate to your phone’s Bluetooth settings screen, enable Bluetooth pairing mode and pick “CoolStream Duo” from the list of available devices. Also of note, there is no password required during pairing so it’s really nice and easy to switch between Bluetooth enabled phones and other Bluetooth audio input devices.
With the CoolStream Duo Bluetooth receiver, you can effortlessly play all of your Bluetooth enabled audio right over your factory speakers without having to replace your factory head unit. If you’re considering an FM Modulator or have one already and appreciate sound quality, you can get the Duo for roughly the same cost as a good FM Modulator and you will get much better sound quality (read: no static).