The SoundBot SB360 is the best option for drivers who are looking for a way to stream music from their smartphones. This Bluetooth car kit has a very simple but effective design. It uses an AUX cord to connect to your car stereo, which allows you to play music and make hands-free calls over your speakers. At around $20, it’s also one of the most affordable ways to incorporate Bluetooth into your driving. Just don’t expect high-quality phone calls.
The SB360 isn’t designed for hands-free calling, though you can certainly make calls with it. It’s primarily used to stream music from your smartphone to your car stereo. That said, it doesn’t stream music any better or worse than other AUX-in kits. Since Bluetooth is proprietary technology and the AUX signal from the device is analog, audio quality is essentially the same for every AUX-in Bluetooth car kit on the market. Still, it is among the most affordable AUX-in kits, so you can stream Pandora or Spotify for much cheaper than with similar devices without a difference in quality.
While it’s not ideal, you can make phone calls with this type of car kit. Since the audio is processed through an analog signal and played through your car speakers, the caller’s voice is amplified more than with Bluetooth car kits that have built-in speakers and clip to your visor. While it’s easy to assume that this makes calls better, it doesn’t.
We tested the SoundBot SB360’s sound quality when making calls, and it consistently received poor scores when compared to the visor-style kits we reviewed. That said, it beat out the other AUX-in Bluetooth kit in our review, though not by a lot. The seemingly advantageous loud output of the car speakers causes too much feedback, and attempts to mitigate this with noise-reduction technology only seems to make it worse.
The SB360 comes with a magnetic mounting plate that sticks to your dash, and the device’s metal backing makes it easy to clip it to and unclip it from the plate. However, we found the adhesive pad on the back of the plate lost its stickiness pretty quickly. After just a few hours of driving around, we couldn’t keep it on the dash at all. Again, if you’re just streaming music, this isn’t much of an issue, as it doesn’t matter where the device is as long as the AUX cord reaches the input. However, it is problematic for making hands-free calls.
It doesn’t take batteries and instead plugs into your car charger. The car charger has a USB port you can use to charge your phone while you drive, which is a welcome touch – if your car stereo doesn’t have Bluetooth, it likely doesn’t have a USB port for charging your phone either.
The SoundBot SB360 is the best AUX-in Bluetooth car kit for streaming music. It’s very affordable and does its job – just don’t expect high-quality hands-free calling.