Alternatives to Microsoft Sync Car Audio and Communications System
My wife and I are inching closer and closer to settling on a used car...current front-runners are Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion.
Being that we're going used, the trick is getting the stars to align and finding one with good mileage, the engine package we want, and at a decent price...and that's without considering one of the few "toys" that I'd actually really like for the vehicle to have: built-in, set-it-and-forget it Bluetooth for my wife to use. I really want to get her to the point where she doesn't have to fumble with the phone while driving to make/receive calls and listen to music, or at the very least, doesn't have to hold it to her ear for calls. I've bought Bluetooth earpieces for her before...no-go. They all are either a little too much fuss to use, are too uncomfortable, get lost in the car or all three. I'd like something that allows her to plug her iPhone in when she gets in the car, and the technology takes care of the rest.
So, the Microsoft Sync sounds really great, and Altima has a Bluetooth option...and of course, both vehicles have packages that include a USB port for using and charging the iPhone/iPod. But like I say, it's beginning to look like we're not going to find a car that hits all the "important" notes that also has these options. So, I'm casting about for aftermarket solutions.
I'm skeptical that either of them will allow for a full replacement of the audio system...both stereos seem to be too well-integrated into the aesthetics of the console for that. I don't know, though...I know very little about car audio, so maybe the industry has overcome that hurdle by now. We stopped by Best Buy yesterday to ask about this, but the car electronics staff was out. Doubt we'll have time to go back today, nor do I think we'll get a chance to go by a dedicated custom audio place.
One option we did see on the shelf that seems interesting is the Parrot i9200. Looks like it can be "installed" in the car using a harness to the back of the existing audio (as opposed to running an auxiliary cable to the aux in jack), would give her a visual display of caller/track info, and a controller to manipulate it all.
Anyone had any experience with that unit, or have any alternate suggestions? Since we're sort of considering this to be part of the expense of buying the car...I don't want to say money is no object, but we are willing to shell out a few hundred, if that's what it takes.