25
May
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Last Updated: May 27th, 2014

Remember that neato Sony car stereo we checked out at CES, which is basically the perfect receiver for someone who uses their phone for all their in-car entertainment? Well, the XSP N1BT (catchy!) is here. You can buy it from Crutchfield or pre-order it now on Amazon for $249.99, and it will ship out on Thursday the 29th, just barely making Sony's May commitment for release.

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If you don't recall, the XSP N1BT is a Bluetooth-powered receiver that foregoes the fancy color screens of modern car stereos for a tiny dock that clamps onto your phone. Once it's in, a combination of an NFC pairing element and a custom-made Sony app will let your phone control the stereo if you're listening to AM/FM radio, satellite radio, or a CD. If you'd rather listen to the music on your phone instead, it'll pipe through your speakers via the Bluetooth connection. If by chance you don't have your phone, or someone else is driving your car, it will still be able to function with a basic one-line LCD display. Check out our hands-on video from CES for a closer look.

The dock will work with all Android phones - NFC is handy for pairing, but not required - and the XSPN1BT includes a USB port with 1.5 amps and a short cable for charging. If you happen to have a Sony phone, the dock connection will charge it without a cable. (An Xperia Z is shown in the promo images, but exactly which phones are compatible with this feature isn't disclosed.)

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All that being said, $250 is pretty steep for what is essentially a standard double-DIN stereo plus a phone dock and NFC. If you've already got a Bluetooth-enabled stereo in your car, it would probably be hard to justify the extra expenditure. A wireless charging module for my DROID MAXX might make me jump on this, but as it is, I'll stick to the cheapo stereo I bought years ago... which, incidentally, is also a Sony.

Source: Amazon, Crutchfield - thanks, James Alston and Braden Nida!

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • mmm

    fugly as hell

  • Michael

    Looks pretty cool. Does this have wireless charging?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Don't think it does.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      Only Sony's proprietary version.

  • Defenestratus

    This is worthless without wireless charging, and, its very, excessively clunky.

    • Joshua Hill

      It's designed for Sony phones with their magnetic charging. Too bad you purchased the wrong phone.

      • Arnold

        ^^ LOL!

  • http://www.facebook.com/danieltye88 Tungmeister

    Had it got wireless charging I MIGHT have been interested.

    • Avalos

      Their own PHONES don't have wireless charging.

      Great a waterproof phone with no wireless charging, you know what that means, fiddling with rubber port covers, yay!

      • Rogue

        They phones have magnetic charging ports like the mac books do so research before you bash. I have a Z1 only time my ports were opened where to insert sim and memory card.

        • Avalos

          I have a Z Ultra(you know, the monster).

          And proprietary chargers are bullshit. I bought 2 knockoff magnetic chargers on EBay for $5 each, and one broke immediately and the other worked for a few days, and there's no fucking way I'm buying the "official" one for $40.

          • andddlay

            so...because the knock off ones FROM EBAY were terribly made and easily broke, that makes the proprietary hardware bullshit? that. is. hilarious. amazing argument buddy.

            i'd never buy that kind of thing off ebay anyways without reviews - check out amazon and you'll find several decent ones.

          • Cuvis

            I think what he's saying is that the proprietary hardware is bullshit because it reduces his choices to either paying way too much for the official charger or buying shitty knockoffs on eBay. Whereas a phone with a standard MicroUSB connection and/or Qi could charge with any number of chargers.

          • Rogue

            Sorry to hear about your loss but you know what I did , I bought 2 magnetic docks then I removed the two screws from the bottom of one and removed the magnetic charging cord. So my magnetic charger is original, I never buy knock offs.

          • Jephri

            Yeah, i once bought two fake tickets to Disneyland, they wouldn't let me in. I hate Disneyland now... Your logic is awesomely flawed my friend.

          • GazaIan

            That's not even what he was saying though...

    • Kcls

      Was thinking exactly this. I don't want my phone screen on 24x7 in my car if it's not charging, and plugging usb into my phone while it was in this would be ugly.

    • loudambiance

      Wireless charging is far too slow for the power drain caused by GPS, Bluetooth, and LTE (map updates while navigating, streaming media, etc).

      • matt

        I use a wireless charging external battery. It keeps my nexus 5 charging while running screen 100%, GPS, LTE, sync, and Ingress. Wireless charging is only slightly lower in efficiency. With a high enough amperage source there is no concern.

        • http://www.facebook.com/danieltye88 Tungmeister

          Exactly what I was going to say, I've got the same setup now.

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      • BruinGuy

        I have a wireless charging cradle for my Note 3. All of the radios are constantly on including wifi, bluetooth, GPS and NFC. I use navigation most of the time and stream media to my car stereo via bluetooth. And, guess what? It charges while doing all of this. If you're having trouble then maybe you bought the wrong cradle.

    • Joshua Hill

      Sony phones don't have wireless charging they have a special magnetic charger that this head unit supports.

  • brock

    Why this over an appradio2/3 with appradiounchained app for full mirroring of the phone and wireless charging?

    • TheDave1022

      Pretty sure appradio only supports a few android phones. I have a moto x which isn't supported so this would be better

  • abobobilly

    Overpriced.

  • Bruno

    I was about to comment about Wireless charging... but people already commented about it. Will Sony listen? probably not.

  • Ali

    overpriced, just get a headunit that has bluetooth or aux port, and a phone mount. save yourself hundreds of dollars.

    • Joshua Hill

      This is only $250. To save yourself hundreds of dollars, i.e. $200 you would have to get a similarly spec'd head unit + phone mount with charging for only $50. I don't see how that is even close to possible!

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        He exaggerated slightly. But I bought exactly what he's describing for $80. So $30 off.

        • Joshua Hill

          Not sure if pricing in the USA is substantially different to Australia but a $250 US product converts to under $300 AU but would likely retail for $350 - 400 AU. To get something of comparable quality a decent head unit is $250 - $300 and a charging phone dock is minimum $50, for one that I would feel safe putting a premium smartphones in think closer to $100. Not sure what quality components you are talking about for $80 but as I initially said pricing is either vastly different or you're talking about cheap and not directly comparable components in my view.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            A very high-quality JVC Bluetooth head unit. It's been fantastic to me.

            And I've never seen a charging dock worth $100, much less $50, nor is any such unit comparable to this, which is a slot you stick your phone and then plug a cable into.

            I did fail to add the math of the dock to my figure, though. I have a magnetic phone holder that I spent $20 on. Fantastic. I have a very high-quality dual-USB car charger I spent about $8 on on sale from a very reputable company with exceptional reviews. And I have a $1 USB cable from MonoPrice because there's literally no reason to spend more than that on a USB cable. I failed to include those prices because, like most people who might be interested in this, I already owned all of those before even considering upgrading my head unit, so they weren't factors in the price.

            But all in total, I spent $109 on these components in that case. So $141 less than the Sony. Would the Sony possibly produce better audio? Maybe, although the compression over Bluetooth might very well cancel that out, and I doubt my stock speakers would be able to benefit from it, forcing me to spend many hundreds more upgrading them to notice the difference. So my unit does the job for me quite well for a lot less money.

            That said, I do think this unit's very cool, and if it had wireless charging (my wireless charger in my house does, in fact, put out enough current to counter GPS, screen on, and music), I'd consider it for the overall design and convenience. But I don't think what it provides over a single-DIN unit for half its price is worth it.

          • James Heyneman

            There is another thing that's important when it comes to USB cables, the cheap ones don't always work. I got a few cheap Rocketfish cables from Newegg a while back and they will not charge my G2. Apparently you need thicker gauge wires for charging. I read that the cable it comes with is 20awg and some of the cheap ones are has high as 26awg.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            Yes, I'm well aware of that. A premium MonoPrice cable is still a dollar, and charges phones at full speed that no other cables I own will. Which is why I still said spending more than a dollar isn't necessary. Knowing what cable you're buying is.

  • Alberto

    n addition, for the Xperia Sony smartphones, you don’t even have to use a cable. The magnetic connector realizes clean and hassle-free battery charge, not spoiling a bit of your dash board’s elegant appearance

  • Cuvis

    Very cool, but the price is absurd. I think I'll wait for somebody else to clone it and sell it for $50.

    Bonus, the clone version will probably charge through Qi.

  • Ryan Martin

    Does nobody use their phone for navigation?? This would be pointless for me, as I want my phone mounted closer to eye level.

    • Ezzy

      I've wondered this many times myself. People in the US and Canada seem to drop their phones into cup holders while driving. I just don't get that. I've ALWAYS had a mount up top for navigation and music controls.
      I guess this goes back to laws for not touching mobile devices while driving or some such.

      • Jephri

        That is a pretty broad statement there. I am from freedom land and I always mount my phone on my windshield. Makes it easier to watch Pawn Stars and Honey Boo Boo while I'm driving. Murica!

        • Ezzy

          More of an observation than statement.

    • Andrew Richards

      I think keeping your phone at eye level with a windshield mount is far safer than leaving your phone on your lap or cupholder and picking it up whenever it vibrates.

  • Steve Christopher

    "You can but it from Crutchfield pre-order.."

    I think you meant "Buy".

  • quick

    "connected via Bluetooth" nuff said... whats the point of this, no different than any smartphone hooked up to a cars head unit via Bluetooth.

    I already have a magnetic dock that charges my phone mounted on my windshield. This doesn't off anything special.

    If they instead built a head unit with a smartphone integrated completely or with smartphone guts, where there is a digital audio output going directly through the head unit, along with having access to nav and the rest of the android apps, then this would be more interesting...

    All this is a regular bluetooth head unit with a phone mount on it...

  • Mastermind278

    As awesome as this sounds, I actually have owned the Sony MEX-N5000BT for a few months now. Pretty much does the same exact thing except you have to use your own phone mount. But being > $100 less, I think the N5000BT is a better option. The App does work pretty decent with the headunit. It's nice to use my phone to change radio station and etc. However, touchless commands can be a bit wacky with the MotoX and the Sony App.

  • GazaIan

    That's a really high price for something that doesn't do much, but most head units are always overpriced. I still don't see why I should just mount a Nexus 7 in my a double DIN head unit with some minor mods. wire it to the speaker, Double tap to wake, double tap status bar to sleep, perhaps some hardware keys wired in for convenience, but there are so many better ways to have a useful head unit that gets shit done.

  • Tim

    At first I thought "Oh SNAP that's cool!"
    Then I realized, "Wait ... that's a terrible terrible idea."

  • Jeffrey Fazal

    I am not interested to buy this. Instead of messing my car with it, I prefer to buy a qi car charger to charge my Nexus 5 and other qi enabled Smartphones even while driving across the countryside.

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  • Walter

    I think for Sony phone owners it's a very cool device. Charger, mounting dock and car radio all-in-one. Next time I'm in the market for a car radio, I'll certainly have a look at this.

  • Scott ryan

    Do we know if the Samsung galaxy note 3 fits in this unit??