Our smartphones have taken over most aspects of our media interactions and the car infotainment system is no different. With the arrival of Android Auto and CarPlay, our phones are more involved in how we commute than ever. So, too, are dongles that allow us to create a wireless reality of this dream like the Carlinkit 4.0 adapter.
Android and iOS support
The biggest draw to the Carlinkit 4.0 is that the unit supports both major mobile operating systems. Android Auto and CarPlay are both onboard this adapter. This really is the dream for split households, or nerds like myself, who share devices across both platforms.
The setup is pretty painless as well. You are presented with a boot menu on first plugging the Carlinkit into your car. The interface gives the Bluetooth pairing name for the 4.0 and you connect via the phone’s UI Settings. After a few seconds, the infotainment interface will present the appropriate car system for Android or iOS.
This portion of the user experience has been pretty consistent. Each boot takes around 20 seconds to scan which device is connected and land on the phone-powered home screen. Performance has been no different than other options for wireless car adapters we’ve used. There’s a slight drop in latency versus a wired connection, but for the most part, users won’t notice much difference when using the Carlinkit.
The One Problem
The one issue I did have was that my Mazda head unit struggled to communicate the correct aspect ratio while using Android Auto. This is a known issue with the Carlinkit 4.0 adapter and their engineers are actively searching for a fix. What happens is that my infotainment screen is technically a 10.25-inch screen but it’s extremely short and long. This seems to confuse the Android Auto implementation of the dongle.
This is not an issue at all while using iOS in my car. The Carlinkit 4.0 also works perfectly in my wife’s Jeep Wrangler using both platforms. The more common, square aspect ratio easily fills the whole screen correctly. I think you just need to be aware of the one Android hiccup if you have a similarly shaped head unit as the Mazda systems.
Much like the previous Carlinkit A2A adapter we reviewed, there’s a dedicated website portal to provide some settings and OTA updates. Personally, I’d still like this to be an app-based option like the Carsifi alternative.
The web implementation is clunky and requires you to force your phone into a WiFi connection first and then kill that connection to push download the update over LTE, then back to the WiFi connection for the update. Having this in an app that doesn’t require all that back and forth would be much more intuitive.
I enjoy the flexibility of wireless CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s a small convenience over a wired connection that I think is worth it, especially if you also have Qi charging in your vehicle. The Carlinkit 4.0 is another great option for consumers to add this functionality without breaking the bank.
The Carlinkit 4.0 is normally $99, but currently, the unit is on sale for just $73 on Amazon. You can snag this great wireless CarPlay and Android Auto device using the links below.