CARS.COM — OK, it's not really a button — more like "N" marks the spot. Tap an appropriate Android phone to the stylized N on the 2018 Honda Accord's dashboard and it's the shortest of shortcuts to Bluetooth pairing.
The N logo stands for near-field communications, and under the N is an NFC tag. NFC is perhaps most familiar as the technology underlying Android Pay and Apple Pay touch-to-pay systems at retail checkouts.
In the Accord, touch the logo with an Android phone (which has been NFC-enabled) and the NFC Device Manager automatically appears on the dashboard touchscreen. Press "Connect Device to Vehicle Bluetooth" on that screen, touch the N again with your phone, and you're good to go (your phone may require you to confirm.) Use it for your new phone, to pair a friend's phone to listen to their playlists, whatever. You also can use the Accord's NFC to transmit a wallpaper image from your Android phone's files. It's a little thing, but details matter.
If, like me, you are an iPhone user, you'll still have to pair the old-fashioned way. We're still in the wilderness for NFC uses — iPhones have had NFC capability for a while, but Apple has limited the use to Apple Pay.
Down the road, however, we may be able to do similar fast pairing with an iPhone. Apple announced this summer that it is loosening the strings on the NFC functionality with the new iOS 11. At some point, on newer iPhones, this could include fast Bluetooth pairing with speakers and other devices, including your new Honda Accord. Stay tuned and we'll report back on that.
The NFC Bluetooth pairing is one of a number of ways the 2018 Accord raises the bar on its standard and available tech features, led by a new multimedia and control touchscreen system with a user-friendly interface as well as physical knobs and shortcut buttons. It's the best in any Honda and is finally a match for other good systems out there. Other phone conveniences include a 4G LTE connection with Wi-Fi hot spot (subscription required) as well as available wireless Qi charging, which includes a range of non-Apple phones — and now, with the iPhone 8, Apple phones.
2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Touring as Tested:
- Powertrain: 252-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; 10-speed automatic with driving modes and paddle shifters
- Fuel economy: EPA ratings not final, Honda anticipates 22 city, 32 highway for the 2.0T Touring model.
- Key features: Redesigned five-seat mid-size sedan, adaptive suspension, upgraded multimedia system with navigation, HondaLink with smartphone integration and Wi-Fi hot spot (with subscription), head-up display and Honda Sensing safety technology (standard on all trim levels), including a front collision system with automatic braking, lane keep assist, blind spot warning, parking sensors, driver attention monitor and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow
- Price: $36,675 (including a destination charge)
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Note: The N-Mark is a trademark or registered trademark of NFC Forum, Inc. in the United States and in other countries.