Thursday , January 21 2021

Anchor Roav Bolt Charger works as a Google Home Mini in your car

Trench Bolt from Anker is a strange little product. It is a car charger with two USB ports that fits into a lighter plug. It's also a kind of small Google Home Mini, complete with two microphones specially tuned to give up echo and noise in the car. Even there are traditional 4 LED lights that you see on the top of Home Mini when it's active. Available today at Best Buy for $ 49.99.

After I used it for several hours over the weekend, I was a little impressed, but not so much that I think it's an obvious bunch of many people. If you have an older car and live entirely in the Google ecosystem, I could see it as an interesting product – albeit a bit expensive. Once it's turned on and set (although Google Assistant, of course), you can just say "Hey Google" and will light up and listen to your commands – it gets an internet connection from your phone. It works with Android phones mainly, but has beta for iPhone users too.

For sound, Google recommends using aux input – there's one on the Bolt and 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable included in the box. When you do this, Bolt really works just like Google Home in your car. It can do all the usual things you can do at home – or perhaps more specifically – all the things that Google Helper can do on your phone.

If you search for directions, it will automatically open Google Maps on your phone and start navigation. It can read notifications like those, although Google tells me that it's trying to be smart so it does not overload you. If your friend sends you a war, you will read the first, but then just make small sounds for others until you ask them to listen. You can also reply to messages.

I can see why Google recommends using the AUX audio port. You can also use the Bluetooth connection of your phone to display audio to your car's stereo. This introduces a slight delay between the words "Hey Google" and the audio sound Bolt so you can hear your answer.

I was impressed by how well Bolt managed to hear a vigilant word. Even with a musical explosion, I should not have called to listen to me.

If you're deep enough in Google's ecosystem to be interested in this, you're probably aware that, well, this thing is not strictly necessary. Your phone probably already supports the discovery of the keywords "Hey Google" and you can just launch Android Auto directly to your phone. Fair point, and one with which I agree.

What Bolt gives you is a bit simpler, better setting. It has a direct aux line to your car, which can be overwhelming if your stereo does not support Bluetooth. It also has a better voice recognition from your phone, especially when music is playing.

Is it worth $ 49.99? For most people, I doubt it. but worked well in my testing and did exactly what I was trying to do: use the Google Assistant more convenient in your car. It's not as good as Android Auto, but it's something. It will be in best-seller stores, on Walmart's website, and will hit other retail stores as a Goal soon.

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