With the smartphone market at an all-time high and with the need for constant connectivity constantly on the up, there is now more than ever a requirement for in-car Bluetooth and streaming devices. People need to make calls, listen to music and keep in touch on the road – it`s an absolute necessity. iO Play 2 offers a hands free music streaming system and claims to be one of the most advanced systems on the market. So we were really looking forward to trying it out!
This device can be retrospectively fitted to most vehicles and utilises high performance CSR Bluetooth technology to ensure good sound quality and functionality. As well as the Bluetooth connection, there is connectivity via Apple 30 pin connector and 3.5mm jack.
The device is controlled by two key components; the first an adjustable OLED screen and the second a simple control panel. The removable high contrast OLED screen offers a clear display and can be optimised for night and day driving. iO Play2 can connect and integrate all iPhones, iPods, mobile phones, MP3 players and Sat Nav systems with a vehicle`s existing audio system.
The screen is where the magic happens. Using the control panel (fixable wherever is convenient, for example mine is next to my gear stick), you can navigate your way through a fully loaded menu system. Ranging from access to your phonebook, music (such as including, Songs, Artists, Albums, Podcasts, Audio books, etc located on an iPod or iPhone), your messages which can be relayed using text to speech technology, equaliser settings and much more.
Using this control system you have access to making calls, listening to texts, streaming music and even streaming sound from your sat nav. It does the lot and is really simple to use!
There are also optional accessories which enable steering wheel control functionality, reversing kits and sat-nav sound streaming.
As it is a music streaming device you may be interested in the sound quality? Well, the iO Play2 boasts a Class D amplifier that gives your music some real oomph and ten EQ settings for optimising this sound. This is a really handy way to get a true sound to your music whatever the car and whatever the type of music you are listening to.
The sound quality is an accordingly good and there is very little echo on calls made to the device. Call quality can be adjusted too and there are three Clear Voice Capture (CVC) presets for passenger cars, LCVs and convertibles. This ensures that the spatial lay out of your car does not impact upon the sound, but is truly optimised.
On the whole the device offers a very good solution to those looking to make calls and stream music on the go. The sound quality is good when connected to the Apple 30 pin connection or the jack and can be altered easily thanks to the on-board equaliser. However, we found there to be a little distortion on the Bluetooth music streaming. The dual phone capability is also handy for making both business and personal calls, therefore keeping you fully connected whilst on the road. The system was also easily navigable and intuitive to use thanks to the software layout.
But, it`s not perfectâ€¦ We found that the device was a little inconsistent in its performance and sometimes struggled to connect at all. For example, on occasions the device needed reconnecting to re-establish connection. This was a particular issue when connected using the devices cabling, which was a real pain when travelling alone. Also, the sound sometimes was erratic in its volume and did drop out completely a couple of times – this was disappointing and not something I expected from a device that had otherwise performed as billed.
Overall rating: 3/5
RRP for each system is:
iO Play2 – £159.99
iO Talk2 – £119.99
With installation it would typically cost around (although this can vary):
iO Play2 – £229.99
iO Talk2 – £199.99
For more information, please click here: http://www.my-io.com/products/