The Spotify Car Thing Is No Better Than Using Your Phone

Spotify users can now easily take their favorite songs, mixes, and podcasts with them via a portable player called the Car Thing. This portable player has been out since the middle of this year and provides users with an easy-to-use interface in an ultra-thin, sleek-looking unit. And while it’s a good-looking player with a lot of promise, some tech reviewers around the web have spent some time with the Car Thing and it turns out that it’s no better than using your phone.

The Spotify Car Things features look promising

The Spotify Car Thing is toggled via its tuning knob. | Spotify
The Spotify Car Thing is toggled via its tuning knob. | Spotify

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Before we get into how the Spotify Car Thing hooks up to your car, we’ll first check out the features it has to offer. According to MS User, the most notable Car Thing features include:

  • Voice control: Just like Siri or Alexa, you can say “Hey Spotify,” followed by a song, album, artist, playlist, station, or podcast to easily navigate your way around the system. The Car Thing also has four microphones so it can even hear you with the music up and windows down.
  • Big round dial: It’s hard not to notice the big round knob on the unit itself. You can use it to select, play, pause, and navigate the system.
  • Touchscreen: If you don’t want to use the knob, then you can touch the screen and toggle your way through menus that way.
  • Four preset buttons: There are even preset buttons to help you find your way to your favorite stations.

How does the Spotify Car Thing connect to my car?

The Spotify Car Thing can connect to just about any car that you can connect a smartphone to via a USB outlet, Bluetooth, or auxiliary input. There are also three different mounts to secure it to your dash area – a CD mount, a vent mount, and a dashboard mount. After mounting the Car Thing securely in place and powering it on, you can then pair it via Bluetooth to your phone.

After that, you can pair your phone to your car or hook it up via an aux cable so that it routes through your car’s audio system. According to YouTuber Joshua Chang’s review, the CD mount worked exceptionally well, and connecting to his car was easy. Chang also noted that the dial was easier to use than the touchscreen while driving.

Why using the Spotify app on your phone could be better

A view of the Spotify Car Thing on a car dashboard. |  Spotify
A view of the Spotify Car Thing on a car dashboard. | Spotify

While setting up and using the Spotify Car Thing is easy, Android Police notes that it mainly just duplicates the phone app’s functionality. Case in point, you might just better off using your phone, since the unit has to connect through your phone anyway. Also, if your car has Apple Carplay or Android Auto connectivity, then you can also use the Spotify app on there, rendering the Car Thing player useless.

Nonetheless, the Car Thing does serve a purpose for avid Spotify users that have older cars without any fancy infotainment systems. It provides an easy-to-use interface in a sleek-looking portable player that could be better than fumbling for your phone while driving (which is illegal anyway). So, maybe it’s not as useless as some reviewers might think.

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