Skip to main content

iClever Himbox HB01 Bluetooth Car Kit Review

Are you ready to “plug in” to the power of your car’s auxiliary port?

iClever Himbox HB01
iClever Himbox HB01 Bluetooth Car Kit
MSRP $69.99
“The iClever Himbox HB01 system may be the most functional way to add both bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling to your car.”
Pros
  • Simple controls and operation
  • Helpful voice and tonal prompts
  • Phone, Media, and Siri capabilities
Cons
  • Call sound quality can be quiet

Out on the road today, the average car is generally around 10 years old. The rusty dinosaurs from the ’70s, ’80s, and even ’90s are dying out, but modern vehicles will fly past the 100,000 mile marker without slowing down. While the performance and reliability of your trusty transportation may be enough to keep you from buying new, there are some modern technologies you are living without. With the Himbox HB01 Bluetooth kit you can add hands-free calling and Bluetooth audio streaming to AUX-equipped machine. Could this be the $40 solution to keep the love alive between you and your older car?

Plugging In

Out of the packaging, the system comes with a 12 volt car charging plug featuring dual USB ports – a 1 amp and 2 amp plug for charging your devices while the system is plugged in. One of the ports is where you will need to plug the USB cable for the Himbox Bluetooth controller disk and 3.5mm AUX connector. Measuring just over a foot, the cable should be long enough to span from the 12-volt charger in mosts cars to an area where the driver can mount the control disk.

iClever Himbox HB01
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Mounting the disk to a place where the driver can access the controls is easy with the magnetic mounting disk included with the Himbox HB01. The disk adheres to any part of your vehicle with 3M adhesive and allows you to magnetically attach the controller and remove it when needed.

Connect Your Device

With your car on and the system plugged in, the Himbox ring will flash blue lights as it is waits for your device to pair. On your phone or Bluetooth device you can search for “HB01” and attempt to connect. The system connected to both my iPhone 6 and Moto X (2014) without any issues and gives you a vocal prompt over the car stereo to let you know that a device is connected. Generally a device in this price range will only give you LED queues to let you know it is connected and the vocal sounds help give a more premium feel to the Himbox HB01.

You can even pair multiple devices if you or anyone else you share your car with wants to use the device seamlessly.

The controls on the device itself are fairly simple to understand and to navigate on the control disk. The disk features a large round center button that can be pressed for playing or pausing the current track on your device. Long pressing this button for 1-2 seconds will prompt Siri voice search on an iPhone device without any issues, Cortana on Windows Phone, and also bring up Google Voice Dialer on an Android. The device would open the full Google Now search only when the screen on my phone was already on once the button was pressed. This is common on many Bluetooth devices connecting to Android. The center button also answers a call when the device is ringing and can redial the last call when double pressing the device. The only other buttons are for skipping tracks back and forward with a single press and turning the volume up and down with a long press.

Driving With Himbox

Operation for use every day is rather simple once the device is plugged in and your phone is paired. You can even pair multiple devices if you or anyone else you share your car with wants to use the device seamlessly. When your vehicle stereo is in the “AUX” or auxiliary mode, you will hear the voice prompt to notify you that your Bluetooth paired device is connected and ready to stream media. You can then press the large play center play/pause button once the connection is made and the music on your device will play.

iClever Himbox HB01
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Using the HB01 to answer a call is easy as you simply press the large round button to answer once the phone is ringing. The voice quality is good coming from the incoming call, but sound quality can be faint on the other end depending on where you’ve placed the control disc that contains the microphone. In the 2005 Honda Element we used for the test, we had it originally mounted closer to the passenger side and moved it closer to the drive to improve call quality. Overall, the sound quality was as good as many of the newer in-car systems when the mic in an ideal position.

Conclusion

The iClever Himbox HB01 system may be the most functional way to add both Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling to your older car. The AUX and 12 volt charging port on the Honda Element we tested the system in is not as ideal for hiding the cords and can seem cluttered. But for many, with the AUX port hidden in a glove compartment or center console, the Himbox HB01 will be a great hidden solution to connect your car to your phone. Feel free to ditch any aftermarket Bluetooth hands-free systems and separate Bluetooth audio dongles as the Himbox is the best combination to handle both worlds.

Highs

  • Simple controls and operation
  • Helpful voice and tonal prompts
  • Phone, Media, and Siri capabilities

Lows

  • Call sound quality can be quiet
Nolan Browning
Nolan grew up in a space balanced between the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles' high-gloss exotics and the Mojave desert's…
Best electric car charger deals: $100 off home charging stations
The handle of the Grizzl-E EV charger plugged into a vehicle.

While they may not dominate the market just yet, electric vehicles have become pretty massive in the past few years, with many people seeing them as the perfect alternative to traditional combustion engines. Of course, because EVs aren't as widespread, that means that there aren't always a ton of charging stations around, and sometimes those have inoperative or full chargers, leading to quite a few issues down the road. Luckily, you can get some excellent car chargers at home, which is why we've collected our favorite car charger deals for you below to save you trouble.
Seguma 16Amp Level 1/2 EV Charger -- $120, was $160

If you need a more basic charger, this Level one and two charger from Seguma is a solid option and can deliver 16 amps and 3.84kW, which is pretty substantial. It also comes with a NEMA 6-20 plug and a standardized J1772 connector, which should work on most EV vehicles out there except for Tesla, which has its own connector. There are also some intelligent charging features, which include things such as protection against things like under and over voltage, leakage, and lighting, and it has an automatic cut-off when your EV is fully charged.

Read more
Revamped Lucid Air shows this luxury EV’s bandwidth
Front three quarter view of a beige 2024 Lucid Air Touring.

If you’re only going to sell one car, you’d better make it count.

The Lucid Air electric car finally took flight in 2020 after years in financial limbo. While Lucid plans to launch an SUV called the Gravity and a line of smaller, more mainstream models, the Air remains Lucid’s sole product nearly four years after its launch. The Air has evolved in that time, adding multiple configurations that allow this one car to fill several niches.

Read more
With 1,800 horsepower, Bugatti’s Tourbillon brings plug-ins past the Prius
The Bugatti Tourbillon is a plug-in hybrid.

Plug-in hybrid technology has reached the automotive industry’s upper echelon. Bugatti has unveiled the Tourbillon, the long-awaited successor to the Chiron, with a gasoline-electric drivetrain rated at 1,800 horsepower, 3D-printed parts in the suspension, and an unusual sound system that has no speakers.

Bugatti developed the Tourbillon on a blank slate. The big coupe’s proportions are relatively close to the Chiron’s because the two cars need to fulfill a similar mission: cruise safely and comfortably at jaw-dropping speeds. Bugatti hints that hitting 250-plus-mph is well within the Tourbillon’s scope of capabilities. For context, the Chiron set a speed record and became the first car to break the 300-mph barrier when it reached 304 mph in 2019, so the brand knows a thing or two about speed.

Read more