Carplay2droid 4G review: the car screen becomes an Android mini PC | Video

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The infotainment systems of modern cars are becoming more and more; evolved and powerful, displays more and more; large and defined but you can not & ograve; certainly to say that (with rare exceptions) they are exploited to 100% of the possibilities . For example, in most cases it is not; in any way it is possible to use the screen to surf online, watch a movie on Nefflix or even play by connecting a controller via Bluetooth and in this sense Android Auto and Apple Carplay add much less than one might expect.

Notwithstanding that cars are designed with safety in mind and that of course it is not; thinkable to get behind the wheel while watching the latest episode of & quot; The paper house & quot ;, because & eacute; not to equip your vehicle with something really smart and usable in various situations in full safety?

With the idea of ​​maximizing the potential; of the displays equipped on cars, those of Carbotics Tech have created a nice gadget called Carplay2Droid-4G : just connect it to the USB socket of the car and the game is; done, on the screen of the integrated system will appear; the interface of an Android mini PC , with which you can do everything.

  • HOW & Egrave; DONE
  • HOW IT WORKS
  • INTERNET AND PHONE CONNECTION
  • CROWDFUNDING AND PRICES
  • VIDEO

HOW? DONE CarDroid2 4Gstrong> is called so & igrave; because & eacute; uses the Apple CarPlay platform to convey on the screen an Android mini pc (or a tablet, always a full Android one), the & quot; 4G & quot; instead suggests the possibility; to insert a SIM to make the internet connection independent.

Carplay2Droid-4G looks like a small black plastic box and perforated back to promote heat dissipation, & egrave; very small and light, as well as thin (approx. 80x80x10 mm). The Type-C port is available for connection with the car, a slot for memory expansion with microSD and a slot for inserting a nanoSIM . The power supply comes from the USB connection with the car and the cable is supplied in the package, together with a Type-A/Type-C adapter.


The installation is trivial, it is a plug and play device, just connect it and the game is; done, the car will recognize it as a CarPlay compatible Apple device.


The technical characteristics are not bad at all, so much so; that even in terms of performance, the Android box performs quite well. Clearly you can't do it; wait to play Genshin Impact at 60 fps, for & ograve; all in all there are no stumbling blocks or lags in the main apps to be used in the car (Waze, Spotify, Google Maps for example) and even films and videos run smoothly.

HOW IT WORKS Once started you will find yourself in front of the classic Android interface of a tablet or a mini PC, with some changes (well done) to improve the interaction with the car systems and a series of pre-installed applications.

The interface takes full advantage of the diagonal of the display , there is no; the annoying black bar with the navigation keys that is often found on systems of this type, and to move around the system you can use the touchscreen and retractable navigation keys that are activated via a floating button.

Alternatively, if the car has one provision, & egrave; It is possible to use the hardware buttons of the infotainment system. In our case we have verified with a Peugeot 308 that & egrave; You can move and scroll through the lists with the selection keys on the steering wheel.


On your car you will therefore have a Android mini PC complete , or equipped with PlayStore from which you can download any application, keyboard, settings, memory management, multitasking and everything else; which is normally found on a tablet or smartphone.

With YouTube, Neflix, Prime Video no problem in multimedia playback , the audio comes out directly from the car speakers but nothing prevents you from connecting the box via Bluetooth to a pair of headphones or other devices; Google Maps and Waze work perfectly , however, not in the Android Auto/Apple Carplay version but in the full version for mobile devices, a generic error appears on Spotify but just ignore it and then everything goes smoothly.

Thanks to a specific function & egrave; It is also possible to open two applications in split screen, which will be resized accordingly, for example Waze and Spotify or Maps and YouTube Music.

Online browsing is also good, with Chrome but also with one of the many alternative browsers on the PlayStore. Finally, excellent telephone reception and especially GPS, you can & ograve; safely navigate with Maps or Waze without problems related to geolocation which, we remind you, does not happen through the smartphone but thanks to the chip integrated in the box.

ATTENTION: Improper use of this device is extremely dangerous for one's own and others' safety, as well as being illegal. As is very clearly stated in paragraph 2 of article 173 of the highway code, recently modified to extend the ban on the use of mobile phones to other devices as well.

& Egrave; the driver is prohibited from using radiotelephone devices, smartphones, laptops, notebooks, tablets and similar devices while driving, which involve even only temporarily removing their hands from the steering wheel or using headphones, except for drivers of vehicles of the Armed Forces and Corps referred to in art. 138, paragraph 11, and of the police. & Egrave; the use of hands-free devices or devices equipped with a headset is allowed as long as they are the driver has adequate capacity; auditory to both ears that do not require the use of hands for their operation.

INTERNET AND TELEPHONE CONNECTION

$ 1 million question: if the USB socket is; occupied by Carplay2droid-4G, how can I use the telephone functions connected to my smartphone?

Luckily our dongle & egrave; has been thought out properly, so it provides two ways around this problem . The first is to connect the phone to the Android box via Bluetooth , you will then find an app pre-installed that allows you to manage calls and contacts of the connected smartphone. Once the first pairing has been made, the connection will take place; automatically and you can & agrave; so & igrave; take advantage of the car system (microphones and speaker) by passing through the Carbotics box, in essence the thing will work; automatically and you will find no difference from using with Android Auto or Apple Carplay.

The second way is; a little more complex and unexpected but unlocks further possibilities; of use of the box. Through the SpeedPlay app & egrave; It is possible to use Android Auto and Apple Carplay Wireless . Just activate it and your smartphone will recognize; availability wireless connection, after a quick association to the WiFi Hotspot network created by the Android box it will be; It is possible to fully exploit the platforms but without wires.


The only drawback is that if you are using a smartphone hotspot connection to network the Android box, every time it is enabled; Speed ​​Play the process will be; a little slow and laborious, because & eacute; CarPlay2Droid will have to disconnect from the hotspot and create a network himself to which he will have to in turn connect the smartphone. All this & ograve; it is solved by using a data sim inside the box, so as not to have to resort to sharing the network with the smartphone.

Speaking of connecting to the Internet, the possibilities are; they are essentially 3: nanoSIM with data traffic to be inserted in the box, or hotspot from the smartphone to share the connection. Or again, if your car was equipped with it, & egrave; It is possible to take advantage of the internal WiFi network provided by the data card installed on the car.

CROWDFUNDING AND PRICES

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