Top 5 ways to add tech to your current car
We cover a lot of new, teched-up cars here at CNET, but I know most of you are not in the market for a new car. You?ve got one, you just wish it didn?t have a cassette deck! I think we have you covered with the Top 5 ways to tech up the car you already own. 5: Car App Gateway. You?ve drooled over how some new cars have apps to locate them, remote start them, unlock the doors and more. You can add that to your car with that a kit like the Python DSM250 or others. Costs about $300 but probably double that once you pay for wiring adapters and some dude to put it in. If you install one in each of your cars they all show up on the app at once which makes you look a baller. That?s cool. The 5-7 bucks a month service fee, not so much. 4 DSP Audio Processor. Almost nobody knows about these: They combine a new amp & a digital processor in one box that intercepts the sound on the way to your speakers and makes it sound a whole lot better. JBL?s MS-8 is a good example. It does a sound map of you car with its included sampling microphone and LCD controller. Then it delivers perfect EQ, 5.1 surround, lots of great sounding audio and an AUX jack. Downside is it costs $800 and doesn?t add Bluetooth streaming or other modern inputs. 3 That?s where #3 comes in: A Bluetooth Input Adapter. You want this. It lets you stream stereo audio from your smartphone or tablet to the AUX jack in your dash but without wires. These devices typically include hands free calling as a bonus. Belkin?s adapter is a good example at under $50 street price and 5 minute install. Downside: BT streaming doesn?t sound as good nor work as simply as that old $3 aux cable.. 2: OnStar FMV - This is a rear view mirror with OnStar services built in. It replaces the mirror in your car now, and then you?ve got help when you crash into a tree, BT HF calling, vehicle locator, TBT navigation, concierge service, etc. The mirror price is way down to under $100 now but the service will run you $200 a year or $300 a year if you want TBT nav. And no matter how much you pay, OnStar FMV doesn?t let you do remote start, lock & unlock or any control of your car from an app. Inter: Before I get to #1, there is the possibility you already have it: Your modern smartphone. Its a killer infotainment and nav device with typically great voice command and scads of driving apps. But I bet your mount is a flimsy piece of crap that suctions to the windshield, which is illegal in most states anyway. So get your phone a great mount: Look at Panavise InDash, Kuda or ProClip mounts for something solid and cleanly installed that makes your phone feel like car tech, not tech that just happens to be in the car.. 1. Double DIN Super-receiver. The flagship units pack a punch. Top models from Pioneer and Alpine give you a big touchscreen, all the modern input sources, voice command, turn by turn nav, hands free calling and even optional rear view camera. Oh yeah, and a CD player for when you?re taking your grandparents somewhere. The downside is the cost: The Pioneer AVIC Z140, for example, costs about $650 street and installation could almost double that.