While most current cars have integrated Bluetooth technology, a large majority of other vehicles do not. Today’s review item helps address this issue in a relatively simple manner. The iClever Himbox Bluetooth car kit is an easy way to add hands free operation to most any vehicle.
Using this kit you can listen to music on your vehicle’s sound system from most any Bluetooth capable device. In addition it adds hands free calling without the need to directly interact with the phone while driving. iClever also designed it to work with both Google Now and Siri as well.
In addition the included USB charger offers three USB ports providing charging capability for the Himbox as well as two other devices at the same time.
The iClever Himbox HB01 Bluetooth 4.0 Hands-Free Car Kit arrives in a plain brown cardboard package with a sleeve showing a picture of the product on the front and customer contact info and a QR code on the back. The QR code directs the user to http://himbox.com/index.php which at the time of this review was not functioning correctly.
Opening the box we find the iClever Bluetooth Car Kit, USB Car Charger, clip on plate, Warranty Card and User Manual. The main component the iClever Bluetooth Car Kit is comprised of a rubbery black material with a blue ring and the name ‘Himbox’ in the middle. A 4.43 foot cord originates from the base of the controller with a 3.5mm and USB connector at the opposite end.
The USB car charger has a silver band around its base with the Himbox name embossed in white. At the end are three USB inputs one labeled for the Himbox and two others which are 2.4A.
The clip on plate is all black and looks similar to the main control unit except the Himbox name is printed towards the top of the hinge joint. A magnetic adhesive mount is on the back of the controller and has a 3M adhesive sticker for mounting it in one’s vehicle.
The device features echo and noise canceling technology along with a built-in microphone for using the device as a speakerphone. The latest version of this device incorporates apt-X technology, which is supposed to provide CD quality sound. iClever designed it to be capable of connecting to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously.
On the control unit are three buttons with the main one used for playing and pausing as well as activating either Siri or Google Play. The left top button decreases the volume or skips to the previous track while the right button increases the volume or skips the track forward.
Pressing and holding the main button for five seconds activates the pairing mode. To reject incoming phone call, press and hold the main button for two seconds while pressing the main button once quickly will answer a phone call. Double-clicking the main button redials the latest phone number called.
Specifications and Features
The iClever Himbox Bluetooth car kit is developed for easy installation in vehicles to enable hands-free operation. With this kit, you can use the car stereo system to enjoy the music on your phone and answer incoming calls without having to pick up your device. As a bonus, this car kit is equipped with 3 USB car charger ports, allowing you to simultaneously charge your other devices.
Upgraded Features for PLUS Version:
– New Apt-X technology to ensure higher sound quality
– Iron Plate Clip-on option for portability
– Longer cord – 4.43Ft(135 cm)
– Now includes 3 high output level USB car port chargers
– Rubber oil crafted exterior to ensure longevity and environmentally friendly
– The Himbox auto-connects with your last paired device
– Easily calls back the last outgoing call by pressing down on the control button twice.
– Activates Siri/Google Now through button controls, press down the control button for 1 to 2 seconds. If the device is asleep, press the control button two times. (Once, to wake up the device and a second time (hold down for 1 to 2 seconds) to activate Siri or Google Now.
– To connect this Bluetooth car kit to your car stereo system, please ensure your car stereo has a 3.5mm Aux-In jack.
– 1 x iClever Bluetooth Car Kit
– 3 x USB Car Charger Ports
– 1 x Clip-on iron plate
– 1 x User Manual
– 1 x Warranty Card
Price: $34.99 (from Amazon at time of review)
The one requisite to use the iClever Himbox HB01 Bluetooth 4.0 Hands-Free Car Kit is to have an accessible 3.5mm Aux-In Jack in one’s vehicle.
To install the kit first locate a spot on the vehicle’s dashboard for applying the mounting disc then remove the protective backing from the adhesive and fasten it in position. Now attach the main controller, which magnetically adheres to the mounting disc.
The next step is to plug the USB charger into an available car charger then plug the USB connector and the 3.5 mm audio connector into the auxiliary interface of the vehicles stereo. To use the Himbox select the Line In or Aux inputs as the audio source on the vehicle’s radio.
Now you’re ready to pair your phone. Press the main button for about five seconds until the LED ring starts to flash rapidly. Go into your phone’s Bluetooth settings and you select the Bluetooth car kit named HBO1 Plus. Once a connection is established the LED will turn solid blue.
For testing I used the iClever Himbox HB01 Bluetooth 4.0 Hands-Free Car Kit with my 2010 Honda Accord, which has an AUX jack and car charger aka “cigarette lighter jack” in the middle console compartment. The Bluetooth devices used for this review were an iPhone 6S+ and Sirius car radio with Bluetooth capability.
The iClever Himbox easily connected to both devices. Music/audio playback was excellent as the volume was consistent with other sources in my vehicle. There were no dropouts or lost connections which is important with such a wireless setup.
One drawback with the iClever Himbox HB01 Bluetooth 4.0 Hands-Free Car Kit is that the volume on hands free voice calls is low and I needed to aggressively raise the radio volume to hear the person on the other end of the call.
Another problem was when both devices tried to send audio to the Himbox at the same time then some garbled audio occurred and I would need to shut one off to resolve that issue.
When in use the iClever Himbox emits a blue light from its circular LED ring. Unlike the bright Blue LED lights on other devices this one is dimmer and more sedate which is good as one does not want to be blinded while driving.
Pressing and holding the Home button for a few seconds activates Siri. The microphone works well during phone calls and when issuing voice commands.
My other concern with the device is the durability of the USB cable. The end of the USB connector is attached to a rather thin cable which may not last long especially if frequently moving the unit around.
The main unit can be attached to the magnetic disc or to the driver’s seatbelt using the magnetic clip. Luckily my Aux input was right next to my car charger jack so running the wire was not too big an issue. I still wish that the cable was longer as I used the full length of cable to reach the position where I mounted the magnetic disc.
After using the iClever Himbox HB01 Bluetooth 4.0 Hands-Free Car Kit for several weeks I have to say I am extremely satisfied with its function. I’ve listened to music from my Sirius radio and iPhone 6S+ as well as audiobooks and podcasts without any issues. The sound quality is excellent and there was no noticeable difference when using this kit versus connecting my iPhone 6s+ directly to the 3.5mm input.
Hand’s free driving kits are not just luxuries but in some states are actual requirements. The iClever Himbox HB01 Bluetooth 4.0 Hands-Free Car Kit is an easy way to add such a system to a vehicle without built in Bluetooth capability. Whether it is taking a phone call, listening to music or audiobooks the iClever Himbox allows the driver to keep their phones away while still providing functionality.
For any driver who wishes to add Bluetooth capability, the iClever Himbox HB01 Bluetooth 4.0 Hands-Free Car Kit is an affordable choice that is easy to install and implement.
+Excellent sound quality
+Works with Siri
+Includes apt-X technology
-Volume on phone calls is low
-Cord could be thicker and longer
-Requires AUX jack in vehicle
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Disclosure: This product was given to me for review by the company for review purposes only for free or at a discounted price.
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