2009 Infiniti FX50: Bluetooth Operation
September 15, 2009
I've lost my Bluetooth earpiece and while I wait for my new Motorola H500 to arrive from Amazon ($9.99!!!), I've found myself trying out our long-termers' Bluetooth connections more than usual. Generally the pairing process is more hassle than it's worth -- after all, this is something that most owners will only do when they get a new phone.
Nevertheless, the Infiniti/Nissan system is pretty easy to pair. Once I deleted one of the five filled spots (Sorry nameless Blackberry-using editor), it was just a matter of putting both phone and car in search mode and entering '1234' into my phone.
Use of the Bluetooth is a different story, though.
In Acuras and Hondas, for instance, you simply have to press the Bluetooth talk button and say "call 310-555-5123." You can say it quickly and it usually nails it on the first try. The car begins to repeat the number for you, but it also displays it in the instrument cluster. Once you confirm by reading that it's what you really said, you can cut off the automated voice with another press of the talk button and say "dial." I also could have said "call Office," pulling a number from the pre-programmed in-car phonebook with essentially the same process involved. It's quick, it's easy.
Not so the Infiniti. Press the voice command button. Read and listen to the available options of "Phone, Navigation, Info, Help." There's no way of cutting off the voice. Wait for beep. Say phone. Read and listen to the available options of "Dial Number, Redial, Phonebook, International Call." Say Dial Number. Listen to the instructions for do so. Say "310-555-5123." Read and listen to the number read back to you, then read and listen to the available options of "Dial, Change Number." If correct, say dial and you're done. If wrong, say "Change Number" and it asks you to try again, this time reading each number block separately. If you want to try the whole shebang again, you can at least press the back button and try again.
If you pre-programmed the phonebook, it's a little easier, but still too time-consuming. Get to that second voice command menu and say "Phonebook." Listen for brief instruction and say the "Name." It replays your voice from when you originally recorded the entry and displays what that entry is called in the computer. It then tells you to say "dial." The Infiniti gives the option of "Download Phonebook," but when I pressed that my phone disconnected itself from the car. That doesn't happen with Sync or the system in the BMW 750i. Therefore, I can't comment on that function, or specifically whether I can select numbers from my phone's phonebook using voice commands like in Sync. My guess is no.
As you can see, dialing a number using the Bluetooth controls with the Infiniti/Nissan system is needlessly long. Once you know how to do it, there's no reason you need to listen to the instructions every single time. I fear that people would end up selecting a number from the phone itself, then transferring the call to the car -- which basically makes the entire system moot as looking down at your phone is what causes most cell-related accidents in the first place.
I'll assume that the system in the 370Z is the same, but if not I'll be driving that the next few days and will indicate otherwise if that's the case.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 22,740 miles