2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS: Is OnStar a Suitable Cell Phone Alternative?
September 08, 2009
I didn't even know our Camaro had OnStar's hands-free calling service until a number popped up on the screen asking me if I wanted to "answer" or "decline." At the time I was driving through rural Utah, so I was both curious and bored enough to I hit "answer" just to see what happened.
A woman came over the speakers and asked for Stephanie something-or-other. Since my name is not Stephanie I politely told the caller she had the wrong number.
She persisted, "Is there a Stephanie there?"
I responded, "This is my car ma'am, unless Stephanie is stowed away in the trunk, I'm pretty sure she's not around."
That was enough to convince her and she hung up. I then proceeded to play around with the system to see how well it worked as a Bluetooth alternative.
It's quite useful, sort of.
The actual interface is very user friendly. You either hit the button on the steering wheel or press the phone button on the OnStar panel just below the rearview mirror. It then asks you for a prompt and you then say "dial" and follow it up with the number. Simple enough.
I used it to make a few calls to the office and the sound quality was quite good. It was right about then that I was reminded why I didn't think to use it before. A voice chimed in and said I only had 10 minutes of talk time remaining.
Now I didn't expect to make a bunch of calls for free all day, but the idea of "recharging" my account with additional minutes suddenly made me question its usefulness. It's convenient and all, but do I really want to pay another cell phone bill? Especially one that I can only use in the car?
Um, not really. I'll stick to using Bluetooth thank you. It works just as well and all my numbers and info are all there. Glad the Camaro offers both.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 2,389 miles