MPow Streambot Z review


The MPow Streambot Z is a bluetooth FM transmitter, which offers a solution to the problem of the FM radios on cars imported from Japan not being able to tune in to all our UK radio stations.

Here is a video showing how it works.  Scroll down if you’d prefer to read about it.

Why you might need / want a bluetooth FM transmitter

MPow Streambot Z boxWhat’s the connection between the MPow Streambot Z and imported Japanese cars?  Well, the FM frequency range in Japan is different to ours in the UK.  This means that when you import a car from Japan, you are in the (un)fortunate position of only being able to listen to Radio 2 (and any other stations low on our FM frequency range).  Obviously the CD player will still work, but I quite like to listen to the radio from time to time.

There are several solutions to this problem.  The traditional option is to fit a band expander.  This shifts the frequency range up from the Japanese range to the UK range.  The radio will still show the Japanese frequency range on the display, but will be able to tune into all the UK stations.

Another option is to fit a whole new head unit.  I know this is what a lot of people ultimately end up doing, but it is time consuming and expensive.

The MPOW Streambot Z, when coupled with your smart phone, is a quicker, more flexible and more versatile solution, requiring no wiring or dismantling of the vehicle.

How does it work?

I’ve already mentioned it is a bluetooth FM transmitter.  It takes the audio signal from your phone and broadcasts it on an FM frequency of your choice.

  1. MPow Streambot Z in operationPlug the device into the 12v cigarette lighter socket (this will need to have power so you may need to have the ignition switch on the accessory position).
  2. Pair your phone with the device.  The blue light on the device flashes when it is in pairing mode, and is on continuously when paired.
  3. Select the frequency you want the unit to use for transmitting.  This should be an unused frequency in your area.
  4. Tune your car stereo to this frequency.
  5. Tune your phone in to your favourite radio station (or play some music).  You’ll probably need an app for this.  I use Tune In radio but others are available.
  6. Adjust volume levels.  To maximise the signal to noise ratio, you’re probably best off turning the volume on your phone and the Streambot Z up to near maximum, then using the car stereo volume control to adjust the final volume to suit.  The silver dial on the top of the unit can be turned to adjust the volume.
  7. You’ve now got as much music and radio as the internet can offer available through your car stereo!

There are buttons on the Streambot Z to move to the next and previous audio tracks, useful if you’re listening to MP3 files or using Spotify etc.

Also a Bluetooth Hands Free Kit

MPow streambot Z packaging and instructionsThere is some additional functionality to cover, because the MPow Streambot Z can also function as a basic hands free kit for answering calls.  For me, this is a secondary function to what I’ve already described, so I won’t cover it in as much detail.  When I say ‘basic’, it is actually pretty good.  The Streambot Z has a built in microphone and like most bluetooth hands free kits uses the car stereo speakers.   It is limited by the location of the cigarette lighter socket, which means the microphone can be quite far away from your mouth, as can the button to answer and end calls.

Charging

Finally, the MPow Streambot Z has a USB socket for charging your phone.  This has a 1 amp output so will be enough to keep most phones at their current state of charge if they’re being used for navigation and music streaming.  It might not be enough to actually top up the battery on some phones.

Summary

I think this is a great device that delivers a lot of value for money.  In a matter of minutes it can expand the capabilities of any car stereo with a FM tuner.  This is especially true for cars imported from Japan with very limited crossover with the UK FM frequency range.

You can click here to buy the MPow Streambot Z*


*This page contains affiliate links.  This means that if you click and end up buying something, I get paid a small amount.  This helps with the costs of running this site.  Obviously you don’t have to buy via this link if you don’t want to.

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