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Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman
Super compact design
Dual USB charge ports
Handsfree calling with built in mic
Simple user interface
A little noisy when the audio is silent
No auxiliary port
USB ports make it a little difficult to plug-in and unplug cables
The Aphaca Wireless Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter is an exemplar of compact and simple design. Although it’s missing some features found in other transmitters, the Aphaca worked great for us.
The Aphaca Wireless Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter is a very simple, compact, and well designed Bluetooth FM transmitter that allows you to connect almost any Bluetooth-enabled audio device to your car’s stereo system. In this review we’ll examine the transmitter’s compact design, audio quality, and features to see if this little transmitter is a good buy. Spoiler alert: it is.
The Aphaca Bluetooth Car FM Transmitter is a svelte device that will easily fit in any car’s 12V power outlet. It’s only 3 x 1.8 x 1.8 inches and 1.12 ounces, making it the smallest transmitter we’ve tested. The design is incredibly simple and it even looks kind of cool installed in your vehicle, though it’s so small you may forget it’s there entirely.
The face of the transmitter is almost entirely one LED display that doubles as a four-directional button. After plugging the transmitter into your car’s 12V outlet you’ll see next/last arrows on the left and right buttons for FM channel selection on top, play/pause at the bottom, and information on a central display. The interface even has a tactile, clicky feel and sound.
With so many choices on the market and so little price difference between them, aesthetics can be an important differentiator, and the Aphaca has style in spades.
The Aphaca boasts a pair of standard 5V/2.1A USB charging ports, one which doubles as a data port to accept USB dongles with music files. This is one area where the device’s size is a bit of a liability: it’s so small and shallow that it might be difficult for some people to plug-in USB cables. In addition to the USB audio option there is a hidden TF card slot under the silicon sleeve that you can also use to load music files.
Unlike other Bluetooth FM transmitters we tested, the Aphaca BT69 doesn’t have a 3.5mm auxiliary input. If the reason you’re buying a transmitter is to use your portable music player the BT69 isn’t for you, but omitting the aux jack is likely a big part of how Aphaca was able to keep the transmitter so small.
We tested this transmitter in a 2018 Toyota RAV4, which has two 12V auxiliary power outlets under the dash. It easily fit in both but, because they are located under the dash, it was impossible to see from the driver’s seat in one of the outlets. It does have better viewing angles than any other device we tested, but because of where our outlet is located,\ we felt uncomfortable glancing down at it while driving.
After plugging it in, the display lit right up and we connected it to our phone’s Bluetooth. It was super easy and connected right away. We did notice that it took longer to reconnect than any other device when we shut off the vehicle and turned it back on.
We set the FM frequency using the buttons on the front of the device and got great quality audio right away. Overall we found this transmitter to be easy and intuitive in both setup and use. There were no confusing controls, the icons all make sense, and it’s clearly designed to be a Bluetooth device first, with the USB and TF card options just an added bonus. We really enjoyed the simplicity of Aphaca’s design.
The BT69 packs good interference and noise-cancelling technology and delivers great sound. The only white noise we heard was quiet and came through our speakers when we had no audio playing but had our car’s volume knob up. The audio from USB and Micro SD devices was the same volume and quality as the Bluetooth connection.
The BT69 packs good interference- and noise-cancelling technology and delivers great sound.
Sound remained crystal clear as long as we selected a frequency that wasn’t close to an adjacent FM station that would interfere. The Aphaca BT69 takes advantage of Bluetooth version 4.2, and we never suffered breakup or distortion across the Bluetooth connectivity.
The Aphaca BT69 Bluetooth Car FM Transmitter has one unique feature that we didn’t see in any other transmitter we’ve tested, and it’s an odd one. Aphaca has an app called Fast Find Car for both iOS and Android devices that marks your car's location when you park. We only found one app by that name, with ten ratings and all several reviews saying it doesn’t work.
It was last updated a year ago, doesn’t really look great, and we aren’t even sure it’s the official app for this transmitter because the BT69 isn’t mentioned by name anywhere in the description. The thing is, our phones can do this anyway, and there are plenty of apps that actually work and are updated regularly. It’s a throwaway feature that seems designed more as a marketing bullet point than for any real world utility.
Aside from the forgettable mobile app, the software on the actual device does work well. It’s simple and utilitarian, and the device displays the information you need when you need it. We found our digital audio files were decoded well and sounded great. We didn’t notice any glitches or slowdowns except for the delay when pairing Bluetooth again when starting up the car.
The Aphaca Wireless Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter runs around $23, in the same range as most current generation, small-form-factor Bluetooth FM transmitters. Devices with gooseneck attachments like the Nulaxy KM18 or Sumind BT70B are generally a little more expensive.
The Aphaca BT69 did exactly what we wanted it to do, did it well, and took up little to no space. We’ve seen some ugly compact designs from other manufactures, while the Aphaca not only outperforms them, but looks good doing it. Totally worth the price.
By now you probably get that we dig the Aphaca BT69 a lot. There are cheaper compact Bluetooth Car FM transmitters out there though, though they typically come with some qualifiers. The Criacr US-CP24 is a popular choice and does everything the Aphaca BT69 does and for only around $17, but it’s got nothing on the Aphaca’s great aesthetics, and is also burdened by some other serious issues.
The Criacr US-CP24 does have one important stand out feature, support for a number of file formats, including MP3, WMA, WAV and FLAC audio files. It’s the only Bluetooth car FM transmitter that we tested that could play lossless audio. Unfortunately, that advantage is largely invalidated due to sound quality issues—the US-CP24 suffers from some fairly severe noise and interference problems. In a straight fight, the Aphaca BT69 is a clear winner.
The Aphaca Wireless Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter is an excellent model that totally nails its design.
With so many choices on the market and so little price difference between them, aesthetics can be an important differentiator, and the Aphaca has style in spades. As far as functionality goes, the Aphaca easily holds its own, and all of its caveats are extremely minor. It’s easy to recommend for anyone looking for an attractive, inexpensive way to add Bluetooth functionality to their vehicle.
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