Kinivo BTC455 Bluetooth Hands-Free car kit review: Tiny Kinivo kit gives cars Bluetooth music streaming, hands-free calls

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:

The Good The Kinivo BTC455 Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit's shape and size make it easy to mount in a car, and its 12-volt plug includes a USB charging port. With its wireless Bluetooth connection, it supports music streaming, hands-free calls, and a pass-through for Siri and Google Voice.

The Bad The BTC455 offers no indication when you activate its voice command pass-through, and has no display for caller ID.

The Bottom Line For its music, voice command, and phone features, and especially its easy-to-install design, the Kinivo BTC455 is one of the better kits for retrofitting a car with Bluetooth.

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Editors' note: Parts of this review have been taken from an earlier review of the Kinivo BTC450.

Almost every new car comes off the factory line with Bluetooth hands-free phone support these days, but if you want to upgrade your old car with Bluetooth, the Kinivo BTC455 Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit may be the answer. The BTC455 plugs into a car's stereo, transmitting music and phone calls from your phone through the car's speakers.

Last year, I looked at the Kinivo BTC450, and was impressed by its simple design and functionality. The BTC455 maintains all the features of the previous model, but adds support for two simultaneously connected Bluetooth devices.

The main component of the BTC455 looks like a thick disc. At just over 1.5 inches, it is small enough to attach discreetly to a car's dashboard or console with the included Velcro pads. The device features a large button on top, and two smaller buttons on one side. Blue and red LEDs, shining through the surface of the main button, serve as indicator lights for pairing and other functions.

The disc end of the BTC455 includes Bluetooth electronics and a microphone for making hands-free phone calls.

A permanently attached wire comes off the device and splits into two, one end terminating in a 1/8-inch audio plug and the other in an adapter for a car's 12-volt power point. That 12-volt adapter conveniently holds a USB port for charging phones or other electronics.

The main button on the BTC455 serves a number of functions. It initiates phone pairing, pauses and plays streaming music, and answers or hangs up phone calls. It also activates voice command, such as Siri or Google Voice, for phones with that capability. Two smaller buttons on the side of the BTC455 let you skip forward or back a song when streaming music.

The BTC455 lacks a caller ID display or any native voice command features.

Set up and go

Setting up the BTC455 in my car was simple -- I found a convenient place to stick the main disc unit on the side of the center stack using the included double-sided tape. After plugging the adapter into the 12-volt power point, I had plenty of cable to tuck away between seat and transmission tunnel. The 1/8-inch audio plug went into the stereo's auxiliary audio input.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Kinivo BTC455 Bluetooth Hands-Free car kit

Part Number: BTC455
MSRP: $69.99 Low Price: $49.99 See all prices