On paper, the phone connectivity features included with Toyota's DA6 are impressive. The infotainment system supports Bluetooth-enabled hands-free, contacts download, call history, text messaging, and e-mail.
But the Bluetooth performance is disappointing, we found. A lack of noise cancellation on the microphone results in significant background noise when the car is moving. So, the same issue that plagues our analysis of Toyota's voice recognition capabilities also hurts phone call quality.
Device pairing is fairly simple, requiring only three button presses to put the DA6 in discovery mode. You finish the pairing process on the phone itself.
Toyota's DA6 had no troubles downloading our contacts off the phone via Bluetooth, and it presents the familiar address book and speed dial numbers. There’s even a standard pad in case you want to manually dial a number. A history list is also available for quick redials or a look at missed calls.
Text messaging is handled by the Bluetooth MAP (message access profile) protocol. We tested the feature with an iPhone 4S and Nokia Lumia 900 without any luck. However, our Samsung Galaxy Nexus running a new build of AOKP (Milestone 6) worked properly, sending and receiving text messages without any issues. Text-to-speech support means the system will even read your messages back to you in a sexy robotic voice. You're able to reply via preset messages, or you can customize a message to your liking. You cannot, however, carry on a discussion via text messaging using the DA6. E-mail is supported, but compatibility is limited to BlackBerry devices, we weren't able to test it.
Again, the features look good on paper. But the lack of effective voice recognition severely hampers the infotainment system's usability. Once the Camry is in motion, all of its phone features are locked out of the touchscreen. Everything has to be controlled through voice commands, which don't work reliably when you're driving. So, you’re stuck using these features at stop lights, or you find yourself trying to work around the system's limitations by manually dialing out from your phone, defeating the purpose of hands-free functionality entirely.