half-assed, but endearing

So I bought the Kross Bluetooth Hands Free Cell Phone Car Kit with FM Transmitter. It has its good points, but it has some quirks and serious shortcomings.

Here’s what’s good:

  • It’s cheap (< $40)
  • It provides in-car Bluetooth speakerphone
  • It plays MP3s from SD card, USB stick, or an line level source.

Here’s what’s not so good:

  • Playback quality is limited to finding an open FM frequency, which is hard in the GTA
  • The transmitter is not very powerful, so nearby vehicles can swamp your signal (or, if you want to call it a feature, it’s a “random positional mashup”)
  • The phone mic is a tiny port on the unit, so sometimes the caller can’t hear you too well
  • You need to have your radio on to answer your phone
  • The USB port doesn’t provide enough charging current for a phone or GPS
  • The remote isn’t very good
  • Voice dialling doesn’t seem to work with my Blackberry
  • The MP3 playback function usually remembers where you were when you start the car, but sometimes forgets, and needs the card ejected and reinserted
  • It doesn’t know about ID3 tags
  • Weirdest of all, it plays back files in the strict order they were written to the directory – not ordered by file name. It seems that, under Microsoft operating systems, files are copied in name order, but under Unix, they are (winging it here) copied by inode. Using tar on a Mac or Linux is the way to go, as it writes in name order.

The Kross S-150 Manual (scanned PDF) is pretty terse, and has been of limited use to me. For all its faults, it’s kind of useful, but if I had a USB-capable stereo, I wouldn’t need this.


  1. I just bought one of these and it’s awesome. I agree with the shortcomings – The lack of iPod/iPhone support is annoying, but for $40, I’ll live with it.

    This little guy supports stereo bluetooth, and so does my iPhone. That’s huge, as is not having cables running all over my dashboard all the time (my phone is mounted to my window, while my DC adapter is near my gear shifter.

    The sound quality is AWESOME from Line-In, USB, SD Card, or Stereo Bluetooth – I end up using the SD card or USB for most of my music though. I’m looking to pick up one of these guys for my Mom’s car. All in all, I’m VERY satisfied. Oh, and the people that’s I’ve called have rated the call quality about a 6-8/10 which is fine by me!

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