Livio Radio Bluetooth Internet Radio Car Kit review: Livio Radio Bluetooth Internet Radio Car Kit

Of course, being a universal Bluetooth A2DP device, the Livio Kit can also route audio from any app running on the paired handset through your vehicle's speakers. So, you will be able to listen to Pandora, Stitcher, or locally stored media via the Kit with AVRCP controls for play, pause, and skip intact. This universality also makes the Kit useful for amplifying the turn-by-turn directions of navigation apps, which can easily be misheard in the din of road and wind noise.

Hands-free calling
The Livio Kit also handles hands-free calls when paired with a compatible phone. Incoming calls can be answered or rejected with the green and red phone buttons, respectively. Tapping the green phone button at any time brings up you phone's voice dialer, if available.

Call audio, like music audio, is output through the FM transmitter or the host car's stereo system. The tiny pinhole microphone for voice input is hidden between the red and green phone buttons. Call quality will ultimately depend on your vehicle's acoustics and the placement of the Kit in the cabin. Because of the location of our vehicle's 12-volt power output, the Kit was seated at the base of the dashboard's center stack, down by our knees, so we ended up repeating ourselves quite a bit to make ourselves understood during calls.

In sum
As a hands-free calling package, the Livio Kit is merely passable. Its design will likely place the calling microphone too far away from the driver's face to make chatting while driving enjoyable.

However, as a music bridge between your smartphone and your car's stereo, the Livio Kit is quite flexible and functional. With analog inputs and outputs, Bluetooth A2DP connectivity and AVRCP controls, and an FM transmitter, there aren't many phones and cars that the Kit can't get working together. The Kit's access to the 45,000 global streaming-radio stations of the Livio Car Internet Radio app is a huge bonus.

Interestingly, Livio's materials list two separate model numbers for the Android and iOS versions of the Kit. Our tester was labeled as the iOS-compatible version but worked just as well with an Android phone (the HTC ThunderBolt) as it did with an Apple iPhone 4. Pricing is also identical at $119.99 each, so we're assuming the difference is merely for branding.