Carlinkit 2.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter – Review

Carlinkit 2.0

Carlinkit

Prices vary. Currently $139.99 at Amazon.com

I love CarPlay. I have it in my 2017 Honda CRV and it is used daily. I would not buy a car without it. My only complaint is having to connect my phone to the USB cable every time I get into my car for it to work. I have been hoping for a wireless CarPlay adapter since getting CarPlay. When I heard about the Carlinkit Wireless CarPlay adapter I had to have it!

At first the listing at Amazon.com (which seems to be the only place to buy the adapter) said it was not compatible with my car. However, a week later version 2.0 happened to come out and the listing changed to supporting Honda cars. I bought it right away! I figured it was a treat for my birthday which was two months ago.

There are several listings for different models. Some require a built in unit, some require an Android based unit and others are not wireless, but seem to add CarPlay functionality to cars that don’t have it. Just be careful if you go shopping for this.

Anyway, the unit arrived about a week ago and I couldn’t wait to try it out. It connects to your via Bluetooth and to the car via USB. You plug it into your car where you would connect your phone for CarPlay to work. The car thinks the device is a phone capable of CarPlay and then sends everything from your phone through the Bluetooth signal.

The instructions for connecting your phone are not the best. It is a little clunky getting it figured out and you might have to remove any actual Bluetooth connection between your phone and car for it to connect properly. I did.

There are instructions for downloading a firmware update that comes with the device. I did that before anything else and then restarted the car. I turned the car on and the connection screen appeared. Once connected and loaded I indeed had wireless CarPlay!

It seemed to work! I turned my car off and on several times and it reconnected each time. It took about thirty seconds to connect. Music and podcasts played. Maps seemed to work. It did lose the connection when I closed the console where the unit was stored and connected to my car. No big deal. I figured I’d keep it open.

I still had to take it for a real test run, but I figured it was off to a good start and more than I even expected. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

A few days later I took my car out for a ten minute drive. The wireless CarPlay connected immediately and all seemed fine. However, on the ride home everything went wrong. The unit connected, but after about thirty seconds it disconnected. A few seconds later it reconnected. Then it disconnected. This went on and on and on. I restarted the car figuring that might help. It kept happening.

When the connection seemed stable I made a phone call. The call connected, but I could not hear anything and the person I called could not hear me. I tried calling numerous times. Same results. It did go through once successfully.

Obviously, I was disappointed. My dreams of wireless CarPlay were quickly dashed. The unit is now awaiting pickup by UPS for return to Amazon.

One note- the description of the item at Amazon does say that results may vary depending on the car model. It could be that Honda support is not perfect yet, but another car make might work flawlessly. So if you do want to try out the Carlinkit I suggest making sure you buy it directly from Amazon so that you can easily return it if you have problems.

Hopefully, Apple will release a wireless CarPlay adapter at some point. Until then, here is hoping another company has better success making a unit. To me this is proof of concept, and I think more units like it are inevitable.

Like I said, your mileage may vary. For that reason I am not going to rate the Carlinkit. I think you can make a judgement based on this review. If you do try it out and have success let us know at MyMac.com with a comment below.

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