Spotify Car Thing review: What is it, what can it do and how much does it cost?

Spotify Premium subscription required

Car Thing by Spotify. (WDIV)

Spotify announced that it would be testing out a smart player for vehicles back in April 2021.

Car Thing was made for limited release in October of last year before going wide in February.

Car Thing connects to your phone and allows you to control your music from a designated screen that you can put almost anywhere in your car.

The screen is a touchscreen, there are a few buttons and it can even voice control your music with the command “Hey Spotify.”

Spotify is currently holding a summer sale and is offering $40 off Car Thing, making it $49.99 before tax. Click here.

Inside the box

Car Thing by Spotify. (WDIV)

My first impression when I opened the box was “wow, this is small.” Once I actually got it in my car the size seemed fitting.

I keep mine on the left side of the steering wheel, attached to a vent. Which -- I should probably move it -- for two reasons. When the windows are down or the air conditioning is on high I cannot use the voice commands. The other reason is it blocks the cold air from reaching me.

You can put Car Thing almost anywhere in your car with the various options included in the box. It can stick to the dashboard anywhere, go in the CD player slot or attach to a vent.

It comes with a magnetic puck. That way you can set up the base part and then easily remove the screen and put it back.

Car Thing by Spotify. (WDIV)

Using it in the car

Car Thing makes it pretty simple to pause music, change what you’re listening to or skip ahead.

It has five preset buttons that you can use to save playlists, which makes it easy to get your favorite music going when you’re on the road.

There’s a home button and a dial that you can spin to turn the music up and down.

Future updates to Car Thing will include a night mode to dim screen brightness in the evening and an add to queue command.

You do need cellular data and a Spotify Premium account to use Car Thing.

Is it worth it?

It depends.

I have been a pretty loyal Spotify subscriber since the early 2010s. It’s one of the subscriptions I won’t be able to stop and I basically use it every single day and on every single drive.

That being said, Car Thing isn’t a necessity. It’s a luxury. Functionally, it doesn’t do anything you can’t already do from your phone. Or, if you have a more modern car, you can do a lot of this from the car’s unit.

If you use your phone for GPS, then Car Thing makes it simpler to change your music without having to temporarily close your map on your phone to change the song that’s playing. The voice commands also help to keep your eyes on the road.

It’s not cheap. Car Thing costs $89.99 with free standard shipping. That one-time cost is on top of your monthly Spotify Premium subscription. Those subscriptions start at $9.99 and go up to $15.99. (Unless you’re a student and you get a $4.99 plan.)

Spotify is currently holding a summer sale and is offering $40 off Car Thing, making it $49.99 before tax.

Car Thing costs $89.99. It requires a phone with cellular data and a Spotify Premium account. Click here to learn more.

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About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.