Droid 3 and 2010 Acura TL - detailed Bluetooth phone and audo testing (works good)


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Sep 18, 2011
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On Wednesday I had a 2010 Acura TL non-Navi for the day, as a dealer service loaner. It has the Bluetooth HandsFreeLink system, and of course I had to pair my D3 with it and test it out! Summary is that it works good, here are the details.

My stock .890 Droid 3 paired with the car easily. The car voice menu gives you the passcode, then you search and pair on the phone. The phone showed Phone Audio and Media Audio paired. The car has two screens, the center console screen and the instrument panel screen. The center console screen always shows the Bluetooth logo and the phone signal strength. This appears shortly after starting the car. Battery level does not appear on the center console screen.

Upon pressing the phone off hook button, the instrument panel screen shows the battery level and signal level. You can then speak "Call <number>" and the car will repeat it and then dial. There is no way I have found to use the phone's voice control features, because the car will not open the audio channel until it places a call.

The car also provides Bluetooth Audio (as well as USB MP3 and analog aux in) via the Aux button. Pressing Aux on the car shows "Bluetooth Audio" on the center console screen. Selecting a song on the phone's Music app starts it playing. Using MP3s on an SD card, and the Shuffle All option on the phone, I tested the obvious state transitions, and they do work: skip buttons on the steering wheel cause the phone to skip songs. Turning the radio off and on stops/resumes the playback. Starting the car with the radio on causes Bluetooth to reconnect (after a few seconds) and resume playback.

If you hit the Call button with the Bluetooth Audio playing, the car neatly pauses the music, shows the cell phone battery and wireless indicators, and lets you place the call. Once you hang up, the music resumes where it left off as you would expect. In nearly an hour of use, there were no sound dropouts or breakups. There is a lag of nearly a second between pressing a softkey on the phone and hearing the audio change, so there is quite a bit of buffering taking place. After an hour of music and test calls I had used less than 10% phone battery.

I tried playing back an MP4 movie clip on the phone, and the audio did come through the car speakers, and sounded good. However, the lag was a problem and the movie clip seemed a bit jerky - I think the Bluetooth audio buffering interferes with the movie frame rate.

Phone receive audio is good, but a test message I left on my answering machine did not sound nearly as good as it would with a headset. This is the usual problem with these in-car speakerphones - transmit audio is not great. Later I talked to a friend using Ford's Sync on his end (to his Bionic) and a headset on my end. He could hear me fine, and I could not hear him very well at all.

In summary, the D3 integrates well with the Acura system, switches modes properly, and does not use too much power. The downsides are transmit audio quality and inability to use the phone UI through the car. Not tested: incoming calls and phone book sync.