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One of the most essential things in modern cars is the infotainment system. When buying a vehicle in 2022, you’ll find touchscreens small and large, pages of apps to scroll through, and more. Something as simple as playing music in less intuitive models can seem confusing. However, using your phone is simple and easy. For many people, the fastest and safest way to play music from their phone is through Bluetooth. You can climb into a car, and music instantly connects and begins playing. Have you heard of the Spotify Car Thing? It’s a phone-sized music player that attaches to your car’s dashboard. Whether the technology is worth the cash is up to you, but we think one cheaper alternative is a better choice.

What is the Spotify Car Thing?

There's a cheaper alternative to buying a Spotify Car Thing.
Spotify Car Thing | Spotify

Firstly, the Spotify Car Thing is a “smart player” that connects to your phone and allows you to play music hands-free. It looks like a smartphone physically, but it’s a little smaller and slimmer than modern devices. You’ll also notice a large knob on one side of the device. Moreover, the knob is for controlling the volume, although you still have to use your car’s controls to an extent. In addition, you can use it to scroll through songs on your Spotify account.

Spotify Car Thing is called “smart” because it uses a Spotify voice assistant. Users can say “hey Spotify,” then make voice commands to control the music hands-free. Next, you’ll notice a small button below the knob for selecting. Finally, four shortcut buttons sit on top of the device. These buttons are programmable with your favorite artists or playlist, so it’s easier to access them while driving. Using the Spotify Car Thing is like using the standard Spotify homepage on a smartphone.

How much does Spotify Car Thing cost?

Spotify Car Thing mounted on a dashboard. A cheaper alternative is a phone mount which doesn't require 
a Bluetooth connection to the phone.
A Spotify Car Thing mounted on a car’s dashboard | Spotify

According to Wirecutter, it costs $90. At least for people with a modern car that can connect to your phone via Bluetooth, the Spotify Car Thing is too expensive. In addition, the device requires power and needs to be plugged into a USB port. As a result, it includes a USB car charger with two USB ports so you can still charge your phone. It also requires a Bluetooth connection to the phone you control the music with. Furthermore, that phone must be connected to the car’s stereo by Bluetooth or aux cord. There are a lot of connections you need to make to get this thing to work.

One benefit of the Spotify Car Thing is that owners can mount it on the dashboard. It’s easier to use it as a separate infotainment screen than to use a phone while driving. For that reason, the device comes with three different mounts. A dash, vent, and CD mount all come with the Thing so that owners can mount it anywhere they’d like.

Should you buy a Spotify Car Thing?

The Car Thing does not connect to your car’s stereo but your smartphone via Bluetooth. WC says for a car without Bluetooth; the setup can be frustrating. Subsequently, it must be mounted, plugged into a power source, and the phone has to be plugged into the car’s stereo via aux cable at the same time. To sum up, it’s a confusing process that’s made significantly more accessible by using Bluetooth. Therein lies the problem.

Why would anyone with Bluetooth want to use the Spotify Car Thing? Once your phone can connect wirelessly to the car, you’ve got your own Car Thing in the palm of your hand. In addition, using the Car Thing removes your ability to use navigation, see who is calling, etc. These are simple features you’d have by just connecting to the car via Bluetooth. However, there’s one cheaper alternative WC recommends buying instead of the Spotify Car Thing.

Buy a dashboard phone mount instead

Spotify Car Thing isn't worth the price if you have a dash phone mount
Spotify Car Thing | Spotify

As a result, the biggest draw to the Spotify Car Thing is its mounting capability. Having the device mounted in front of you while driving undoubtedly provides easier access. Do you know what else does the same thing and doesn’t cost $90? A dashboard phone mount. A quick search on Amazon reveals plenty of options, as cheap as $10. A dashboard phone mount is a far cheaper alternative to the device.

In conclusion, save $80 and buy a phone mount to use Spotify on your phone while connected to your car wirelessly. The Spotify Car Thing is a neat idea that fails to find its purpose. Requiring a connection to the driver’s phone means it’s a middle-man between the phone and the car’s stereo. While the dash-mounted controls are convenient, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, or an aux cord solve the problem and are much cheaper and easier to use.


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