There are several ways one can hook up their phone to their car. One of them is via Bluetooth, the other is via Aux. Both allow phones to connect to the car’s audio system but via different means. Bluetooth is the wireless technology that allows wireless devices to connect to a host computer. Keyboards, mice, speakers, etc. can connect to a phone, tablet, or personal computer. The aux refers to the wired connection between two devices, often with the 3.5mm audio jack. Unfortunately it is as simple as just Bluetooth vs Aux.
No steering control
To connect a device via Bluetooth, one needs to first pair their device. This may not succeed on the first try, so repeated attempts may be necessary. Usually once a device is paired, the device may connect to the car once in range, provided there is no existing connection. Some vehicles keep a library of previously connected devices, so many devices can connect at a touch of a button. Bluetooth connections are now increasingly common, as many cars now have Bluetooth.
However, this is dependent on the vehicle, as some can only be paired with one device at a time. Once connected however, the device can be passed around without breaking the connection, so everyone within the vehicle or within range of the connection can add songs to a playlist. Aside from that, this can make phone calls convenient due to the hands free nature of the phone call. Some cars allow control of the volume and skip or rewind songs from the steering wheel.
There are some drawbacks however, as Bluetooth connections are energy intensive which can drain the battery quickly. One way to overcome this is to charge your phone using the car’s USB connection or a powerbank, which creates a wired connection anyway.
The aux method of connection is straightforward and simple. There is not need to pair the device, as you simply have to plug in the cable into the jack. This jack can also be passed around to connect to different phones at will. You may also find that using the jack will drain your battery slower than a Bluetooth connection.
There are a number of drawbacks to the aux, one of them being the requirement of a jack. Some phones and cars no longer have jacks, so you might need to buy an adapter to connect the phone to the car via the phone’s charging port. The jack is also limited by its length and can become an obstacle to driving and control of what to play and the volume also has to be controlled through the phone or audio system if driving alone.
The sound quality when using Bluetooth can be good but may vary from car to car. However, not everyone is able to differentiate between high quality audio and slightly lower quality audio. Of course, this depends on the connection which can be unstable. So don’t be surprised should audio cut off altogether when listening to music or talking to someone.
When using the aux, the sound quality is generally good. However, prolonged use can degrade the quality as the cable suffers from wear and tear. Static might also become a problem as the damage increases. As such, an often used aux cord will need to be replaced once in a while to maintain sound quality.
A surprise contender, the USB, strikes a unique middle ground. It requires a connection, but only through the charging port. As such, it charges the phone, while enabling music to be played. Since most car radios have a USB port, a lack of one is not really a problem. As it is a direct connection to the radio, the driver can control the volume and song via the steering wheel. Of course, passengers can also take control of the phone, but this is limited by the length of the cable.
Now armed with this information, anyone can come to a decision depending on what one prefers. Sound quality, power saving, steering control can all be balanced out. As mentioned earlier, it is not as simple as just Bluetooth vs aux. Perhaps one can even use them depending on the situation.