Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Christmas presents 3: iO PLAY 2

Some time ago the people at Armour Automotive put one of their iO PLAY products in my car. It's a Bluetooth kit that enables you to play music from your phone and receive calls whilst driving (please, please tell people you're driving and cut the call short, focusing on the road). You'd think when they offered to upgrade me to the iO PLAY 2 I'd have been delighted, but initially I wasn't. I didn't see how they'd improve on something this simple - pair a phone or two and it just works. Easy.

Nonetheless I agreed - for the blog they'd offered to do it for nothing, saving £159.99 plus installation, so other than curiosity about what they'd change there was nothing to lose.

I have to tell you it's marvellous. Many new cars now link their stereos with phones anyway, so there isn't much point in buying this, but if you have a relative whose motor doesn't do this it's worth considering getting one as a gift for them. First there's the built-in iPhone charger (for the iPhone 5 you'll need an adapter as the charger has changed). It doesn't stop there, though.

There's a little display. This tells you which phone you're linked to. It has called ID. It has a voice - through the speakers it tells you who's texting and will read texts. It will, if you're linked through the charger rather than Bluetooth and using Siri on an iPhone, accept spoken commands. It lets you switch between tracks, albums (displaying the title), car audio, look up numbers in your phone book and initiate calls without taking your eyes off the road (although I'd still recommend pulling over if you're going to be thinking about a call rather than the road hazards).

The original iO PLAY set my phone free - I'm not a massive headphone fan so driving with my music is where having a music phone comes into its own. This upgrade has allowed me to do more with it than just play music, and spares me the bother of fiddling with the handset finding music before starting the car, it remembers five devices so I can have my iPad as well as my phone ready to work without booting my wife's phone out of the memory.

It is, quite honestly, pretty damned good and well worth the money. Unless your car already does this stuff I can't find a single down point.


  1. Guy, thanks for such a positive review. We obv. are really happy with the response we're getting there's plenty of great reviews going round: BMW, Citroen, and several others. We'll add yours to our scrapbook of great iO reviews, we may need volume 2 very shortly!

    1. No problem Stuart, I was just using it on the school run and it's great. If I'd thought it was rubbish I'd have said so, clearly.

      From a business point of view I'll be interested to see what you do in a few years' time when having this stuff built in already is commonplace.


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