LAS VEGAS -- Cobra Electronics announced on Tuesday that it has launched AirWave, a wireless music receiver that uses Bluetooth technology and costs $39.95.
Though it's not entirely wireless (it still requires either an auxiliary cord or a 3.5mm-to-RCA cable), the device lets you effortlessly connect any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone to car stereos, stereo docks, or home audio receivers.
Weighing in at a little over an ounce, the device is extremely lightweight and portable. Its square black body runs just 2.2 by 2.2 inches, and it would have no trouble finding space in your car.
From your glove compartment to your cup holder, the AirWave can operate pretty much anywhere in your car so long as you can maneuver around a cord to connect it with.
However, compared to something like the Belkin receiver, the AirWave does look and feel a little cheap given its less-than-luxurious build material. But, its simple design remains generally appealing.
The middle part of the AirWave is slightly smaller than its top and bottom, making it easy to wrap cords around its body for tidier storage.
Up top is the Bluetooth indicator. If it's blinking blue, that means that it's in pairing mode. You'll know when a pairing is successful when the light stays solid.
Around its edges are a toggle switch that powers the device on and off, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Micro-USB port for charging, and a small reset button. The bottom has rubber padded corners to help the receiver stay put.
The receiver comes packaged with a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm auxiliary cord, an RCA cable, and a Micro-USB charging cord. Maximum range tops out at 33 feet, and its battery has a reported usage- and standby-time of 15 hours and 30 hours, respectively.
Although the Cobra AirWave isn't the first Bluetooth audio car kit, I was able to see for myself how easy and simple it was to pair with a smartphone. Its lightweight construction makes it ultraportable, and the $39.95 price tag is reasonable.
Unfortunately, with the low price, you won't get other neat features like the ability to take calls, or device reconnecting when you get back into your car. But, if you're looking for an easier way to stream music without tying your handset down, the AirWave is a good place to start.
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