4K Dash Cam + Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in ANY CAR | Le Car Life Media Max 2.0 Display Review

In this video, I check out the Le Car Life Media Max 2.0 Display. This is a standalone CarPlay / Android Auto display, that will work in any car, plus it has an integrated 4K Dash Cam.

You can buy this display for $299 direct from Le Car Life 👉🏻 https://lecarlife.com – currently, their site is offline, but I thought I would still cover this product in case anyone was thinking of picking it up off eBay or from another brand seller such as this one from AliExpress for $96.10!

This is a standalone wide 10.26” IPS portable display that allows both wired and wireless CarPlay and Android Auto to any car. It passes audio out of its internal speaker, or you can choose to cast the audio wirelessly to your FM radio or wired to an AUX audio input port. And finally, there’s a 4K dash cam that’s integrated into the back of the display.

In the box you get a paper instruction manual, a Pioneer 64GB SD card, there is the 10.26” display itself, a 12v socket to USB-C power cable, a very long 3.5mm AUX cable, a rearview cable also comes included, and there is a leather fastening strap to keep any loose cables tidy.

Features & Design

The whole display has a nice design with a fairly thin casing and thin surrounding bezels around the display. Including its base stand it measures 24cm wide by 11.5cm high and approximately 6cm deep. It has a 10.26” IPS ultra-wide display, meaning it fits nicely on the top of a dashboard without obstructing your view too much. And due to its dash camera lens at the back, you’ll want to mount this display onto the dashboard, which will also loop record video footage onto an inserted SD card. There’s only one button at the top of the display, to power on and off the display, with home and volume buttons available in its on-screen user interface.

There is a vertical, tilting mount pre-installed onto the bottom of the display, and underneath it, there’s an adhesive pad to help stick its base onto your dashboard. And should you want a more permanent fixture, there are screw holes on each corner of the base stand.

The rear camera lens has a small amount of tilt adjustment to position the camera in a suitable direction out of your windscreen whilst still maintaining a good viewing angle on the front display. Its IPS display technology allows for good viewing angles with a high level of contrast and screen brightness. 

Behind the display, there are four IO ports and slots on the back of the display. There is a USB-C port to power the display, an SD card slot to save dash cam recordings onto, there is an optional GPS accessory port to record location data in dash cam recordings, and finally there is an AV-IN port for the bundled rearview camera. 

In-Line USB-A & 3.5mm AUX Ports

The USB-A port and 3.5mm AUX audio ports are located on their own 12v to USB C power cable. Much to my surprise, this display can operate without a powered cable connection as it has a small internal battery. However, this doesn’t last too long as it’s mostly used for detecting and recording parked events rather than running wire-free. 

With its one-cable connection and in-line ports, there are no messy USB drives or AUX audio cables sticking out of the display casing on your dashboard. However, the USB and AUX parts of the cable are a little too close to the connection on the display and are still on show rather than being further down the cable enough to be fully hidden in the centre console. Other vehicles may vary on where you put the display and where your 12v socket is, but for me, I wish these in-line connections were at least 30-50cm further down the cable.

Boot-Up & Main Menu Interface

Starting up the car will power on the display, and in 11 seconds, the display lands on its main menu interface which consists of six primary info panels or buttons. The first option lets you view its live dash cam and rear camera views. The following two menu options toggle wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, and the fourth menu panel controls Bluetooth audio playback. The fifth primary panel displays the time and date, and tapping this panel lets you make any adjustments.

Along the bottom, there is a single row of sub-menu options that allows you to adjust and configure the audio source and FM transmission frequency. Next, is a Bluetooth settings option. The middle Replay option launches the dashcam browser to view past saved recordings and photos. The Brightness button toggles between four screen brightness levels. And finally, the Settings option takes you to a variety of customisation options toggles for the display.

From the Settings menu, you have the ability to change CarPlay and Android Auto split screen position and full-screen modes. There are settings to change camera recording resolution, set loop recording times and the sensitivity of the g-sensor, alter the lapse or parking recording lengths and adjust data overlays on recorded videos.

The remaining settings control and toggle the display’s functionality, from setting language, changing the screen saver time, setting the time and date format, toggling Wi-Fi on and off, formatting the SD card, checking the software version and resetting the whole display to factory settings.

Wireless Apple CarPlay

Firing up wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is very simple. You first select either option from the main menu and then connect your device to the display’s Bluetooth profile. It took around 10 seconds from Bluetooth pairing to the Apple CarPlay menu, and much longer at almost 45 seconds for Android Auto. This time varies depending on how occupied your device is at the time and how quickly the display can detect your Bluetooth device.

Interaction and responsiveness seemed ok and the wide display allows for 10 icons per screen in Apple CarPlay, unlike the usual 8 icons on lower-resolution displays. This also means that the touchpoints, icons and buttons in CarPlay apps are a little smaller and more widely spaced apart. So if you’re controlling the display from an arm’s reach you have to pay a little more attention to pressing the smaller UI elements in CarPlay. I did a quick test of its built-in microphone, which sounds like this… which is ok but there is some noticeable hissing in the background.

Wireless Android Auto

Over on Android Auto, the Media Max 2.0 uses the common full-screen interface in older versions of Android Auto, which is a shame as the wider display format would have made good use of the more modern split-screen mode – that’s if it went into full-screen better than it does. Unfortunately, when set to widescreen mode, Android Auto is stretched out, so you have to use the left and right-side viewing modes instead. If you have the camera setup, you can have the front or rear camera feed displaying alongside CarPlay or Android Auto, which is nice if you want that screen setup, but for me, I prefer to use the full-screen display mode.

Getting CarPlay Audio to Your Car Stereo

Passing audio through to your car system is done either through the 3.5mm or AUX port on the power cable, or wirelessly using the FM transmitter option. You can choose to use the built-in speaker, but with its rather low performance, it’s only really suitable for voice-based or navigation audio, rather than music. At 100% volume, it starts to struggle and distort too.

I found its FM transmission a little disappointing when compared to its competition. First of all, it takes forever to swipe to the required frequency. Second, the audio was mono instead of stereo, and there was a noticeable interference noise in the background that I tried to work around by selecting different frequencies but I could never remove it. So because of this, along with sometimes its signal would drop or not be as strong enough at times, so overall, I wouldn’t recommend this audio method.

Trying out the AUX output port on its cable gave better results, but the audio was also mono than stereo. Connecting the AUX cable means there are far more cables to deal with in the car, and without true stereo output, the only decent audio that was left was also very disappointing.

4K Dash Camera

As a dash camera, the Media Max performance was ok at this. At least in daylight, yet as I write this review I wasn’t able to test its night performance. You can quickly access the camera feed from either the front or rear camera from the main menu. There are quick options to start and stop recording, save video events and go back to the main menu. 

Selecting the Replay sub-menu option will show all the recording videos, photos, and saved emergency and parked event videos. On the left side, you have a large window to view any selected videos directly on the display, so there’s no need to transfer files to a connected phone or remove the SD card. 

Its 4K playback was clear, with good levels of contrast and decent natural-looking video quality. Playing back the files outside of the display, such as on a mac, was a little challenging, with playback of video not being so smooth as on the display whilst the audio on the display seemed around 1 second out of sync to the video.

My Impressions

I had high hopes for the Media Max 2.0, but it sadly falls flat in many areas when it comes to actually using it for its intended purpose. The lack of stereo and quality audio connection was the deal breaker for me, the camera quality is decent and it’s a nice solution to bundle both a dash cam and CarPlay display into one portable device. 

Its retail price of around $299 matches most of its competition, however with the added dash camera, the Media Max 2.0 does add some extra value to the whole package, and even more so with its included rear camera. But with its poor-quality wireless performance in the audio department, I can’t entirely recommend the Media Max 2.0.

There has been a new revision of this display though, with a 3.0 version already being shown at the end of last year (2022) on its social media accounts, which shows a revised menu system and FM toggle and camera. But at the time of this recording, its website is offline, so I would be cautious and wait until it’s back up and selling before buying this display.

Hopefully, I can get my hands on the 3.0 version to see if these areas have been improved

TIMESTAMPS:

0:00 – Brief overview
0:36 – Unboxing
0:59 – Design & Features
2:58 – Installation
3:34 – Menu Interface
5:06 – Wireless Apple CarPlay
6:00 – Microphone Test
6:20 – Wireless Android Auto
6:59 – Audio passthrough
7:23 – Audio Test & Performance
8:30 – 4K Dash Cam Test
9:27 – My Impressions

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