JustConnect JustDrive Add-On DAB Radio & Bluetooth Car Kit Review

Access to 200 DAB & DAB+ stations, fits any car, crystal-clear reception, fully integrated, high quality

Remote needs non-slip rubber backing, needs a ‘quick guide’ booklet

JustCONNECT?

JustConnect Just Drive DAB DAB+ Radio bluetooth car radio stereo-0451

JustCONNECT are here to save car drivers. From what? The boredom of outdated and limited FM radio stations, as well as having to listen to old scratched CDs over and over again, that’s what. Great, but how? They sell and install a selection of high quality aftermarket DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting) radio and Bluetooth car kits and integrated solutions, so you can bring any car fully up-to-date.

While a fair amount of new cars do come with built-in DAB and Bluetooth, many still don’t and if you want either of those, they’re usually a costly option. In fact, testing new cars constantly, we’re surprised how many – even high-end ones – still lack DAB!

Older cars obviously don’t have BT or DAB, and in our case we had the perfect car to test one of JustConnect’s systems: a 1998 Lexus LS 400. Back in the day, the LS 400 was one of the best-equipped cars on the market, even sporting a touchscreen system with satellite navigation as standard. While there’s a tape deck, 6-disk CD changer, and obviously FM radio, I don’t use tapes, CDs take up room, and FM radio is about as appealing as going back to the days of four-channel TV.

For this particular car, instead of opting for one of the external kits we wanted everything hidden and to run through the standard stereo unit, so the LS’ interior still looked original. With that in mind, we went for the JustCONNECT JustDRIVE Digital Radio Add-On car kit, with the optional Bluetooth Music Streaming Interface. After a few months testing, how’s it doing? Read on to find out…

Test time

Before ordering the JustDRIVE system, we talked to one of JustCONNECT’s tech guys so they could match the right kit to our Lexus. They’re friendly, helpful, and clearly know their stuff when it comes to the technical side of things.

Unless you’re tech-savvy on installing aftermarket ICE (in-car entertainment) systems, it’s best to leave it to a professional. JustCONNECT have a network of installers throughout the UK, and we chose to go down that route. We sat in the car whilst the system was being fitted, and while it’s slightly painful to watch the dash and/or centre console of your pride ‘n’ joy being taken apart piece by piece, the job was done with care and attention, using the right tools to ensure none of the beautiful wood trim or other parts in our Lexus were marked or damaged.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With the stereo head unit removed, the box for the DAB radio and Bluetooth was installed and connected behind, tucked away in place neatly (although it was a bit of a squeeze to fit it in), the inconspicuous aerial for the DAB attached to the corner of the windscreen, all the trim and dash re-fitted, and we were ready to go. That sounds quick, but fitment required around 3 – 4 hours, which we didn’t mind as we’d rather the installer took their time over rushing and potentially damaging trim.

Once everything was back in place there was no difference at all to how things looked – which is exactly what we wanted. How easy is the JustDRIVE system to use? Very simple. Firstly, use one of the presets to tune in an unused FM station, which is given in the instructions. The JustDRIVE system is then in frequency with it, and the DAB and Bluetooth goes through this.

Once that’s done, the preset then displays the DAB station information, or that it’s in AUX (auxiliary) mode. It’s really rather strange – and also very cool – seeing the screen of a car from 1998 displaying DAB channels like BBC 6, Absolute, Kerrang, BBC 1Xtra, or whatever else you’re into.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The system comes with a small, thin (7 mm) remote control , which you use to change the radio stations or click into auxiliary mode so you can use your Bluetooth. You then have three main DAB radio presets (DAB 1,2,3 on the screen) with 4 channel presets on each of these – so a total of 12 preset stations altogether, as well as being able to skip through channel-by-channel if needed.

Setting the stations up using the remote control isn’t an immediately obvious thing, but 5 minutes reading the manual did the trick and once you’re used to it, there’s zero to worry about, even if you’re a technophobe.

JustConnect Just Drive DAB DAB+ Radio bluetooth car radio stereo-0460

JustCONNECT say that (depending on your area) up to 200 DAB and DAB+ (even better quality) channels are available, so world of music really is your oyster in this case, whatever genre you’re into! Another bonus is the fact you can also access other non-music stations that feature sports, dramas, plays, rolling news, and much more.

Something else to add: some may be thinking that because the JustDRIVE system uses an FM frequency to transmit the DAB and Bluetooth, it may hinder the quality. Well, this isn’t some cheap, second-rate system you’d get from an internet auction site or large-scale buyers. After talking to the guys at JustDRIVE it became clear that they’d made sure only the very best components and electronics have been used for any of their DAB systems.

JustConnect Just Drive DAB DAB+ Radio bluetooth car radio stereo-0457

We’ve been testing the JustDRIVE system for months now, and it never fails to impress both ourselves and passengers who sometimes take more than a little convincing that the car has ‘hidden’ DAB and Bluetooth. The DAB radio is crystal-clear (much better than FM), and music etc coming from any Bluetooth devices is thankfully just as good.

If you want an even more add-ons to the JustDRIVE system, you can also buy the optional steering wheel controls interface, a ‘play & charge’ lead that allows you to play music and charge your iPhone/iPod (and we’re guessing other MP3 players/smartphones), and an AUX-in lead for use with a stereo that has a headphone-type socket.

Price

(prices correct Oct. ’14) Currently, the JustDRIVE system costs £129.99. Installation is £79.00, and we opted for the Bluetooth Music Streaming Interface at £69.99, totalling just under £200.

So, the big question: is it worth the money? In short, yes. Why? For a few reasons: many new cars have integrated stereos as standard – they’re part of the dash, and often the controls and displays for the heating, phone, and other things related to the car are built into them already, so replacement with an aftermarket system is not an option.

Let’s be realistic; should replacing your car stereo be an option, yes you can go out and buy a cheap one that has DAB and Bluetooth built in, or you could opt for a one of JustCONNECT’s reasonably-priced external kits. There’s also the option of replacing your ‘double-din’ system with an all-singing-all-dancing one. However, if you have something special, where you don’t want to mess with the look of the interior, then the JustDRIVE system is absolutely the way to go!

JustCONNECT JustDRIVE add-on digital radio car kit verdict & score

JustConnect Just Drive DAB DAB+ Radio bluetooth car radio stereo-0455

JustCONNECT’s JustDRIVE system is the saviour of the bored driver. This is one essential piece of kit that you’ll want if you’re into your music, simply love having the choice of hundreds of crystal-clear DAB+ radio stations over a few crackly FM ones, or want to have access to your music library via your smartphone or MP3 player . It took our outdated Lexus LS 400 stereo and brought it firmly into the modern world – and all without a single visual clue that it had been fitted!

The guys at JustCONNECT are passionate about their product, and it shows as the JustDRIVE kit is clearly high quality and well thought-out. There’s very little we would like to see improved on the system, and it boils down to just a couple simple things: the remote control needs a rubber back so it won’t slide about on flat surfaces and is easier to grip, and a small ‘quick-guide’ for the system would be handy too. Aside from that, the JustDRIVE system is a thoroughly superb kit.

Usability  9
Price  8.5
Design  9.5
Quality  9.5
Overall Score  9.0 / 10

Specs

Kit  JustConnect JustDrive Add-On DAB Radio Car Kit
Kit includes  JustDRIVE control box, remote control, connector kit, DAB antenna
Options you should spec  Bluetooth Music Streaming Interface: £69.99, AUX-IN lead: £9.73, Play & Charge: £49.99
 Fits  Any car with a stereo system
Price (Correct: Oct. 2014)   £129.99 (on offer at time of writing). Normally £149.99
Features  Access to around 200 DAB and DAB+ radio stations, plus option to add Bluetooth
Buy from

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

2 responses to “JustConnect JustDrive Add-On DAB Radio & Bluetooth Car Kit Review”

  1. Martyn

    Hi I am very impressed with your product I got a vectra sri diesel 08 plate. will it work on my car and how much is it.with bluetooth thanks a lot. .

  2. Jason Green

    Had a DAB kit installed and was shocked at the service. After asking for aerial to be installed in back window on initial phone call, the engineer installing stipulated it had to be installed on front window as heat grid in back window would cause interference. I agreed and still had bad reception issues after. Called them a few times, emailed them and after chasing many times gave up. I dont use the DAB at all due to constant reception issues on all stations. Shocking service and horrid product.

Leave a Reply