A few months ago I had the opportunity to review a Bluetooth car adapter and I left the review thinking that it was the best thing since sliced cheese. Mostly in part, because my 2011 Honda Odyssey did not come with Bluetooth from the factory. The iClever Himbox Bluetooth adapter has given me a new frame of reference and has made me reconsider my initial rating.
iClever Himbox Bluetooth adapter overview
The iClever Himbox Bluetooth car adapter is a versatile adapter that adds Bluetooth to your vehicle or any other device with an auxiliary audio input. While it is geared towards being an adapter for your vehicle, there are clever little features that make it compatible with other devices as well. The first feature is that the power adapter for the Himbox is USB based. If you so desired, you could detach the USB cable from the vehicle power adapter and plug it into another USB power source. This will allow you to take the adapter out of the car and into your office or home.
One added bonus is the magnetic control unit. There is a metal base that sticks to your dash so that you can easily attach the magnetic control unit, but if you were to connect it to a home receiver unit you could stick it to the metal sides of the receiver or anything else that’s metal.
There is also, of course, a male auxiliary cable that will plug into a female 3.5mm jack. This is how your music will be output to whatever system that you are interfacing with.
The control unit features 3 lighted buttons. Forward, reverse, and the main control unit, which also happens to be the star of the show. A simple press of the button will answer a call, hang up a call, and pause or play your music, but if you hold the button down for a few seconds then something magical will happen that I will explain in a moment.
iClever Himbox Bluetooth adapter setup
The steps to get your iClever Himbox BT receiver connected to your vehicle are fairly simple.
- Connect the USB cable to the included power adapter
- Plug the power adapter into the vehicle’s accessory power port
- Peel the paper cover off of the adhesive tape attached to the metal base plate
- Affix the metal base plate in the desired area or your dash
- Attach the magnetic control unit to the metal base plate
- Connect the 3.5mm auxiliary cable to the vehicle’s auxiliary port
- Turn the vehicle on and select the audio source to auxiliary
- From your phone search for Bluetooth devices and select HB01 Plus
- Follow any prompts on your phone
Now you are connected and ready to go.
iClever Himbox Bluetooth adapter usage
Now to the part that you actually wanted to read, Android Auto functionality. I should clarify something. There is no screen unless you have your phone mounted to the dash or windshield somewhere. Even then, the screen will not show the Android Auto interface. Having said that, you can use all the voice commands available within Android Auto as long as you have Google Now installed on your device.
When you hold the control button down for a few seconds, Google Now will initiate. Once you hear the Google beep, you can issue it any command from Play music to navigate me to the nearest Wally World. You can also compose and send SMS messages. About the only thing you can’t do is listen to received SMS messages. I found that this was my favorite feature of the iClever Himbox BT adapter.
Not to be outshined by voice commands, the Himbox sound quality really is superb. In part, this is due to the Bluetooth 4.0 and the Apt-X codec support. The high notes sound amazingly clear and the lower base notes were able to play with no distortion. There was also little to none latency issues. The music streamed at the same time it played on my phone.
It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, though. When there is no music playing or active call, the speakers would emit a whine that would increase and decrease with the engine’s RPMs. Also, the buttons used to skip the song would sometimes produce delayed results, but it’s possible that it could have been my phone. My LG Tone headphones will sometimes do the same thing. I can’t be sure.
What we liked
- Audio quality
- Google Now integration
What could be better
- Button backlights could be brighter
- Engine whine was annoying
- Button delay
iClever Himbox Bluetooth adapter summary
If you don’t already have Bluetooth in your car, or you just want to add Google Now functionality, this is a great device. Who am I kidding? It’s a great device if you want to add Bluetooth audio to anything. You can even add it to your parents old 1970’s receiver unit with a 3.5mm to RCA jack adapter and a USB wall outlet.
What do you think? Are you considering this for your vehicle?