Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The socket is the new black

I quite regularly drive two cars - a VW Golf Plus and a Vauxhall Corsa. In principle the Golf should win on everything. It's more comfortable, it has considerably better acceleration and it is better made. However give me the choice (which I don't often get as I share the Corsa with daughter #1) and I will go for the Corsa almost every time.

The reason is ridiculously trivial at first sight. The Corsa has a better sound system. It produces better quality sound - more bass and treble - but most significantly of all it has an 'aux' socket to plug in an MP3 player. The Golf doesn't. We have one of those radio transmitter workarounds in the VW - but it's not the same by a long way, especially if you want to play classical music, which is typically recorded at significantly lower levels, so gets a lot more interference when you blast the audio up to an appropriate level.

These days I tend to stare at the CD slot in a car's audio system in bemusement, trying to remember what it's for. We do still get CDs - I had 12 as presents at Christmas - but once they have been imported into iTunes they go on the shelf as backup.

I think I can honestly say that whether or not I can connect my phone to play music would now be a make or break when we next buy a car - about the same level as 'does it have a heater' and slightly above 'does it have air conditioning.' If car manufacturers are still making cars without the appropriate socket, they are, frankly, stupid. It isn't a luxury. It isn't an add-on. It's a basic now as far as in-car entertainment is concerned.


  1. I can't keep up with you posh people and your fancy cars; my Volvo has a radio and a cassette player - CD would be a luxury. However I'm grateful as always for being kept up to question, what's an MP3 player?

  2. And here's the funniest thing.

    My main car has a CD player (no aux socket). My son's beaten up old Ford Ka has a cassette player and we have one of those cassette widgets that has a mini jack lead coming out of it to allow you to connect your MP3 player/phone etc.

    Isn't it strange that the car with the cassette player wins over CD playing vehicle when it comes to keeping up with new technology!