One of the best tech upgrades I've made to my car cost me less than $25

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Since the iPhone 7 was released, I’ve been looking for a reliable way to play music while driving.

My car is over a decade old, and while I hope to be driving it for a long time, I’m not going to pay to retrofit its stereo with Bluetooth.

For the past few months I’ve been using a Bluetooth audio adaptor, and while it’s worked pretty well, I wanted to try another option.

AUKEY sent me their Bluetooth audio transmitter for review, and its quickly become one of the most handy tech accessories I’ve used in my car. It’s not that this little receiver does anything extraordinary; instead, it serves a sole purpose: receiving audio over Bluetooth and outputting it through a standard audio port.

The transmitter is small and shaped like a guitar pick. It has volume buttons on its side, a power button on its face, a Micro USB port for charging on the bottom, and a switch on top to toggle between “RX” and “TX” mode (I detected no audible difference).

I synced the receiver like any other Bluetooth accessory and plugged my cassette adaptor into its auxiliary port. It’s not the cleanest setup in the world, but for under $US30, it’s worth it.

After the quick setup, I listened to music throughout an hourlong drive and could immediately tell the difference between AUKEY’s receiver and the one I was using previously. Everything sounded cleaner and more accurate, it wasn’t quite as good as listening through a hardwired connection, but it was close enough. There is definitely some extra audio degradation because the sound is getting sent through an additional adaptor, but overall I’m very impressed.

The battery life on this receiver is also excellent. I listened to music for around 10 hours before needing to charge it again. If you keep a two-port car charger around like I do, just fill the second port with a MicroUSB cable and you won’t even have to think about it.

Cars are very difficult (and expensive) to upgrade, and if you have one released before auxiliary ports and Bluetooth became standard, listening to music can be a pain. AUKEY’s receiver is a wireless solution that delivers on sound without costing too much money.

As phones begin to drop the headphone jack, more and more people will have to choose between charging their phone while driving and listening to music.

For under $US30, you can do both and make the setup wireless. I have the cable between the receiver and cassette adaptor tucked into a drawer in the front of my car and most people wouldn’t even know it’s there.

AUKEY Bluetooth Audio Transmitter and Receiver, $US23.99, available at Amazon

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