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Kia UVO: Mainstream Infotainment In The 2012 Soul

Talking And Texting Through UVO

UVO supports typical Bluetooth hands-free profiles with phone book download for phone connectivity. We were able to quickly connect our Galaxy Nexus to the UVO system. Simply press the phone button; UVO displays a notification stating that no phone is connected. Then, it asks if you'd like to add a phone. UVO is put into discovery mode to begin the pairing process. 

A main screen for all phone functions grants access to a dial pad, contacts, and recent calls. All of those features worked as we expected in our testing. UVO supports reading text messages aloud and sending text messages with predefined responses. But, to take advantage of the SMS feature, your phone needs to support the Bluetooth MAP (Message Access Profile) specification. Unfortunately, a lot of phones, including Apple’s iPhone and some Android devices, do not yet support the MAP profile properly.

We were able to enable Bluetooth MAP profile support on our Galaxy Nexus using a newer build of the AOKP ROM. But a quick glance around and reveals that the implementation is temperamental with UVO and rarely works properly. Select phones from RIM, HTC, and Motorola do support Bluetooth MAP, though the feature is typically exposed with the addition of manufacturer bloat, such as HTC Sense and Moto Blur.

This is very unfortunate because it would be a nice feature to have on all phones. We can't fault Kia for the profile's slow adoption, though.

You’ll most likely use UVO for hands-free calling, and we’re happy to report that call quality is quite good. Voices come through clearly, without any popping, hissing, or echoing (so long as the sunroof is closed; the microphone is mounted above the sun visor in the headliner).

We didn’t experience any Bluetooth connectivity issues. Certain Kenwood aftermarket units have a habit of losing their Bluetooth connection after hanging up calls, for instance, and UVO didn't have any problems like that. Kia's solution proved stable and worked flawlessly every time.