Dear Zhp friends,
I am aware that this is quite a well discussed topic and have done quite a bit of searching and reading across a few forums as to what the options are for bluetooth calls as well as A2DP streaming. My questions are about the nuances of some the avialable options which aren't always specifically referred to in the existing threads and reviews.
Having seen how nice it can be to have both bluetooth calls and A2DP streaming in a newer vehicle of mine, I'd really like to have bluetooth in my recently acquired E46.
My car is a 2004 european spec 330i M-sport which is not prewired for bluetooth as far as I can tell. Unlucky. I currently have a connects2 device that allows me to plug in my iPhone to play music, and the volume and track skipping buttons work on both the steering wheel and headunit. Brilliant.
I am fine with the wired solution that I currently have to play music from my phone, so my priority is mostly on getting bluetooth phone call support.
My research indicated the following are options:
1) OEM Bluetooth retrofit (bimmernav).
This would be great in that if would give perfect OEM integration, where the radio automatically mutes, the caller shows on teh radio screen and the call quality is good. For a car that is not prewired, it is something like 800USD though from bimmernav.
2) Parrot CK3000 + connects steering wheel control
This seemed like the perfect option as it looks like it behaves almost identically to the OEM system where the radio automatically mutes when you get a phone call, and the steering wheel buttons work, etc. I've been a bit put off by reading that the call quality is not great though. It also doesnt support A2DP streaming, but that is not the end of the world for me.
Would this work in addition to my connects2 ipod connection?
How bad is the call quality while driving? Maybe if I mount the microphone on the steering column the quality will be better?
3) Connects2 CTABMBT007
Again I thought this would be the perfect device to replace my existing ipod connection. It supports A2DP streaming, and you can skip tracks on your phone using the steering wheel/headunit track up/down buttons while it is streaming, so quite OEM-like. It also supports bluetooth phone calls. The only problem is that when you get a phonecall, if you are listening to the radio, then you would need to manually change the source to the device (cd changer) to take the call. That kind of ruins it for me.. i want the system to handle a call automatically. If only it behaved like the parrot systems in this case.
4) Parrot MKi9000
Again, I thought I had found the perfect solution where the call quality is improved over the CK3000, and unit automatically takes over when you receive a call, and the UNIKA for steering wheel controls and supports A2DP streaming as an added benefit. That is until I read the following from this thread: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1102103
"Note: When you´re streaming music from your phone, your radio basically locks out, you cannot control music volume using the knob, only the steering wheel buttons work, also you cannot access audio options, change audio source etc. but there is a solution for this if you want the MKi9000 to route the music through the standard bmw aux in port (speed vol enabled) and handle calls as usual. (i will post that later). "
He never did post what the solution to that was, and i dont like the fact that when im streaming music or on the phone, the radio locks out and only the steering wheel controls work (which then control the parrot device). I want to be able to cycle between sources and change volume on the headunit always.
5) GROM, Dice, etc.. I have not looked into these in great detail but my understanding is that you have to manually switch the source to them if you want to take a phone call over bluetooth, so similar constraint to the Connects2 device.
It seems that only teh parrot systems can mute / take control of the system when a phone call comes through.
I know I am being fanatical about the details, but these little things really matter to me and attribute the overall experience. I dont like these systems (like the parrot 9000) which where they are almost their own system on their own, and you can wade through their own menus and things are complicated. I really just want an OEM-like solution where if im listening to the Radio, and a phone call comes through, it mutes and allows me to answer using one easy button. And the radio volume can still be controlled while in bluetooth mode etc.
A2DP streaming is really nice, but I can live without it as the options which support it all have some kind of compromise in the details (Connects2, parrot 9000).