In January, 2018 I reviewed the Roav Viva, which brings Amazon Alexa to cars. Now there is a Google Assistant version called the Roav Bolt which, for Spotify users or some folks with older cars, works even better.
The device plugs into a car’s power (cigarette lighter) port and also gives you two USB charging ports. It has a very sensitive noise canceling microphone that does a much better job than most smart phones when it comes to picking up your voice in a moving car. I was pleasantly surprised that it works in my Tesla Model 3 whose power port is inside the center console, yet it picks up my voice even with the console closed.
The Roav Bolt works through your smartphone (iOS and Android) which must be turned on. You may have to go into the Google app to enable the Roav Bolt the first time you use it, but that’s quick and easy. Once installed, you won’t need to touch or look at your phone to play music, listen to news and podcasts, check your Google Calendar, have Google Assistant answer questions or set your destination in Google Maps. You can even ask it for your ETA.
It’s especially handy for navigation because it it’s totally hands-free. Unlike Google Maps native interface, it will automatically change your destination if you ask it to without your having to do anything to confirm the change. That’s huge safety advantage.
The Bold can connect via Bluetooth but it also has a standard audio jack for older cars that don’t have Bluetooth but do have auxillary in. I was only able to test the Bluetooth on the Model 3.
I’ve used both the Roav Viva for Alexa and the Roav Bolt for Google Assistant but both work very well. As a Spotify user I prefer the Bolt as will anyone who has an older car that lacks Bluetooth but does have auxiliary input.
In terms of audio, the Roav Bolt supports Spotify as well as Pandora, Google Play Music, Tune-In, iHeart Radio and YouTube Music. For some reason, you can’t play Spotify on the Alexa version of the Roav.