By Andrew Liszewski
Yesterday Sony unveiled a new lineup of car stereo receivers, eight in total, ranging from low-end, affordable entry level models to the most interesting and expensive DSX-S310BTX. From what I can tell it eschews a built-in CD player in favor of providing connectivity to MP3 players and smartphones. Instead of a disc slot the stereo’s faceplate hides a Tune Tray which allows you to connect and stash away your MP3 player so you don’t have to deal with unsightly wires. There’s also a USB port on the front which lets you connect a flash drive full of MP3s, but most users will probably be installing one for its Bluetooth support.
The wireless connection allows you to keep your internet-connected smartphone easily available when driving, while still letting you stream music from Pandora through your car’s stereo system. The Pandora controls are even accessible via the stereo’s faceplate buttons so you don’t need to operate or even unlock your smartphone to skip tracks. Whether that phone happens to be an Android device, Blackberry or iPhone. And while I don’t see any mention of it in the official press release, I’m hoping the DSX-S310BTX also lets you stream your regular music from your iPhone over BT, like with the ever growing collection of BT speakers out there. Available in September for $280, but if you’re an iPhone user wary of your phone’s battery life, there’s also the DSX-S210X iPhone-only version which ditches the Bluetooth for a more reasonable $200 price point.