Not-So-HandsFreeLink - 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon Long-Term Road Test

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon Long Term Road Test

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon: Not-So-HandsFreeLink

April 29, 2011


Bluetooth is supposed to allow making phone calls hands-free, but the only way the operation can be truly hands-free is if a vehicle has accurate voice-recognition. But how often do you talk to your car? And how often do you initiate a call on the phone itself? Be honest.

The call in the video after the jump was initiated via the phone -- and made while sitting still in the Acura TSX Sport Wagon. But the way Acura's HandFreeLink works with my iPhone 4, it's far from a hands-off operation.

Acura claims that the system is acting as designed and that if the call is initiated on the phone, the system restricts transferring the call to the car. Acura further explained that if drivers make calls from the phone while it's connected to the HandsFreeLink system, the assumption is that they don't want it going through the vehicle's speakers. "This is a privacy setting to keep the conversation on the phone," an Acura PR representative responded.

The PR rep also said that selecting the HandsFreeLink a second time allows the connection to be made to the system. And she added that the preferred method of transferring the conversation from the phone is through the nav system; you have to select the Phone/Info button, then "Phone" and then "Transfer."

While Acura claims this helps drivers keep their eyes on the road and off the phone -- and helps ensure that the driver "really wants his conversation going through the vehicle's speakers" --- I can't recall any other Bluetooth systems that operate this way.

So I call it way too many button pushes just to have a hands-free phone conversation. And a fail.

Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology

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