Exploter ApplePie Lite vs Ottocast U2-X 2-in-1 Wireless CarPlay & Android Auto Adapter Review

In this video, I check out the Exploter ApplePie Lite wireless CarPlay & Android Auto dongle.

You can buy this adapter for $79.99 from Exploter store directly, using coupon code APPLEPIE007 at checkout for $5 off your order →

This rather unique-looking wireless dongle simply converts an existing wired CarPlay system into a wireless one and it also supports wireless Android Auto, so if your vehicle only supports CarPlay and you have an Android phone, you’ll be able to bring Android Auto to your CarPlay system also.

In the box, you get the car-shaped wireless dongle itself, and there is a long USB-A to C charging cable and a USB A to C adapter for more modern CarPlay systems.

Looking over the dongle itself, it’s clear that we have a rather unique-looking car-shaped casing for this dongle. Its size fills similar dimensions to the MMB Adapter Plus dongle. There are two LED status lights at the rear of the car-shaped dongle that light up red and blue when powered, there is the USB-C output port at the front, and finally, there is a USB A input port at the back. 

I tried this wireless dongle on a number of CarPlay setups I had available and I could only get it working on my Alpine aftermarket system. It didn’t work on my newest Pioneer 93DAB system, or reliably on my Dasaita Android OS head unit in my Golf. My Alpine aftermarket had no problem running this dongle and I am sure it will work fine on a factory wired-CarPlay system also, and if you’re interested in buying this dongle I would reach out to their support team to check compatibility before buying one.

Bootup Menu UI

Plugging the dongle into my CarPlay USB port the little car-shaped dongle lit up and I soon landed on its boot menu in around 14 seconds.

From here you only have one interaction, that is kinda hidden, and that is to switch between CarPlay and Android Auto platforms. Sadly you can’t swap without rebooting the adapter and to do this you just tap twice on the icon at the bottom left and a prompt will display around the icon that the dongle will reboot to the alternative platform, be it CarPlay or Android Auto.

Displayed on the home screen is the current firmware version and also the Bluetooth profile name that you will need to search for and connect to from your iPhone or Android device. Simply enter the Bluetooth settings menu on your phone and wait for the adapter’s profile to appear on the nearby devices list, tap it and your device will connect to CarPlay or Android Auto wirelessly and display your chosen platform from your phone onto your CarPlay display.

Wireless Apple CarPlay

It took around 18 seconds to connect my iPhone to wireless Apple CarPlay on this adapter, and 45 seconds in total if you include the bootup of my Alpine system. I thought 18 seconds is a decent speed for a wireless adapter. Once in wireless CarPlay everything felt rapid and responsive. I checked its Wi-Fi specs and it had a max data rate of 433.3mbps, and looking at the other specs, I would say its wifi ship is the same if not similar to the Ottocast U2-X, which also offers both CarPlay and Android Auto wirelessly, however, this ApplePie Lite had lower Signal Rate and Signal to Noise Ratio than the U2-X. But as I said the connect felt solid and the touch input felt responsive.

The general expected audio lag was present here, but it felt a little fast, leaning between 1-2 seconds when swapping tracks. I decided to try updating the dongle to the latest firmware, so I connected my iPhone to the browser config menu of the dongle. From here the software page felt very similar to the new dongles that are selling today. With options to change video and audio streaming modes to help with compatibility in various cars, to view current version numbers and submit any issues or problems you have to their support team. After a rather lengthy update time, the adapter had an extra setting to add a start delay, again to help with any compatibility issues some vehicles may face.

Being installed in my demo pod I wasn’t able to test the microphone or call performance of this dongle, but I’d expect it to be similar to the Ottocast’s U2-X adapter. And if you chose to, you can continue to charge your iPhone from the USB-A port on the dongle without disconnecting it, for longer journeys and general charging.

Wireless & Wired Android Auto

Connecting to Android Auto from this dongle can be done both wired from the USB-A input port, for a faster connection, or wirelessly by connecting to the same Bluetooth profile of the dongle, which saw me connect wirelessly to Android Auto within 8 seconds from the boot menu, to 18 seconds from connecting power to the dongle.

Like wireless CarPlay, everything felt as you would expect with Android Auto. Navigation felt rapid, swapping between navigation and music modes was responsive and smooth. Audio lag felt a little more improved than in CarPlay, and of course, all of this can be faster and more reliable if you chose to connect your Android over a cable connection instead.

My Impressions

This ApplePie Lite wireless CarPlay and Android Auto adapter from Exploter currently , and you can use my code Applepie007 to get $5 off your order at checkout. So check out my links in this article to learn more about this dongle and to buy yourself one.

With its car-shaped design, it’s nice to see a new approach for these wireless dongles, however, inside though, isn’t really that much different to some other wireless adapters that are selling today, along with a similar if not the same software and vehicle compatibility. So at the end of the day, this wireless adapter is mainly an aesthetic choice and it also adds itself to a rather small list of 2-in-1 dongles for Android Auto support for CarPlay-only car systems. It floats to the top half of my wireless dongle table in terms of Wi-Fi specs, which will no doubt help with stability and speed of interactions when using this dongle, wirelessly. 

So if you’re on the lookout for a 2-in-1 dongle for your CarPlay system, this dongle from Exploter comes in a lot cheaper than the similar spec’d U2-X 2-in-1 adapter from Ottocast, for what is basically the same hardware with a slightly newer software inside its fancy car-shaped housing. So if it were between these two adapters, I’d go with this ApplePie Lite adapter.

TIMESTAMPS:

0:00 – Brief overview
0:29 – Unboxing
0:41 – Features
1:06 – Compatibility
1:36 – Bootup menu
2:20 – Connecting to CarPlay
3:30 – Updating firmware
4:25 – Connecting to Android Auto
5:05 – My Impressions

You can view this video and many more on my YouTube channel. If you like what you see, please do Like and Subscribe to our channel so you can be alerted when my next video goes live.

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