As you know I recently spent a nice stretch of time in a wonderful 2014 Toyota Sienna. And you also know that I'm a true geek at heart. Having an IT background, I am always looking for the tech in everything. So what is one of the first things that I do when I am testing a new vehicle? Why, I have to test all of the gadgets and tech of course! One of the most interesting features of the Sienna is the Toyota Entune system. Entune is software that interfaces your Sienna with your smartphone. Yes, this is nothing new, others cards do this. BUT…. Entune does so much more.
What is Entune?
The official description from the Toyota website makes me drool a bit. Hey, I'm a nerd:
Entune encompasses the complete audio display stack of your vehicle – including Bluetooth, voice recognition, USB, aux port, navigation, and your display screen. On select, premium audio head units, you have access to navigation and a rich set of Apps and Data Services, now referred to as the “Entune® App Suite”.
Doesn't that just sound like a geek's dream in a car? In other words, Entune makes your car even more awesome by putting internet entertainment at your fingertips. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Will Entune work with my phone?
Entune is compatible with most popular phones. It works with iPhone and Android. When I first got the Sienna for testing I paired it with my Samsung Galaxy Note 2. When I upgraded to the Note 3, I paired it with that too. And pictured below is my Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom which also paired with no problem. If you are wondering if your phone is compatible, you can check the Entune website. To get going you simply download the Entune app from the App store or the Play Store. Once installed you sign up for the service, and connect your phone to your car via Bluetooth. Of course you may have connected to your car already in order to make calls. If so simply open the Entune app on your phone to establish the connection.
What apps does Entune include?
The suite of apps include Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, and Pandora. I'm sure that you have heard about some of those apps, but just in case, below is a brief description of what function each provides.
Bing: Search the Internet from your car. This can help you locate local businesses while out. Of course you can also search for just about anything else.
iHeartRadio: iHeartRadio lets you listen to not only local radio stations, but any of more than 1,500 stations from all over the country.
MovieTickets.com: As the name states, you can search for show times, and even order tickets right from your Sienna console.
OpenTable: OpenTable helps you locate great places to eat.
Pandora: Probably the most popular of all of the apps, Pandora allows you to setup customized stations based on artists, songs, or genre or streaming music right in your car.
It also includes Fuel Guide, Sports, Stocks, Traffic, and Weather. Just about everything that you might need to look up while out is there at your fingertips to keep you from playing with your phone while driving. Most features can be controlled by voice to keep your hands on the wheel, and your eyes on the road.
Is it really awesome?
In short, yes… it is awesome. I used Pandora most often. The kids loved that I could create a Disney station that they could listen to in the car. And during the holidays we created a Soul Holiday station so that we could sing Christmas songs on the go!
One thing that I would love to see is the ability to log in to your existing Pandora account on the console. Or, even better… if it just automatically figured out that you were logged in on your phone and synced your existing stations. That is what I expected. However, I had to create new stations in the car once I connected my phone. It was not the most convenient solution, but it was just a one time thing.
Entune certainly helped keep us entertained while on the go. I cold see using that on a daily basis… just because it's there. 🙂
Entune is not only available in the Sienna, but in some other Toyota vehicles as well. Have you used it? What do you think?
Disclosure: This post is part of my involvement in the compensated Toyota #SiennaDiaries program. All opinions are my own.