CarlinKit Tbox Max (Ambient) CarPlay AI Box Review | A Case of Déjà vu

In this video, I check out the CarlinKit Tbox Max (Ambient) CarPlay AI Box. You can buy this AI Box for $209 from Amazon US 👉🏻, and from Amazon EU soon 👉🏻 and I’ll update for Amazon UK soon.

My Impressions

Underneath its RGB exterior, is the same hardware as the CarlinKit Tbox Plus – even the BT profile states the same name! Sadly even with all the colourful bells and whistles of RGB lighting, its configuration doesn’t quite cut it compared to its rivals. It’s a token gesture at best.

With this Déjà vu cast aside, you are getting their top-of-the-line spec in a slightly chunkier new casing, a circle of light up top, and a slightly higher price to boot. If that’s worth it for you, then go for it, this is one of the better AI Boxes out there that’s solid and stable, even if it does have a rather dated luncher interface and a reliance on a floating button to go back – madness!

Without a back button in its menu system, you have to lean on the feature we all love to hate – the floating button. Why CarlinKit didn’t include a back button in their side dock is such a rookie decision that I just hope they are reading this and adding it in a future OTA update – which this box can also do now – YAY!

Sure, the Plus model can be had for cheaper, but spec it up to its 8GB + 128GB model and you’re on similar territory. The Plus can be updated to Android 13 OS to even the playing field, so with that, it is hard to recommend the Tbox Max – unless you like fancy lights (that you can’t customise well) and you don’t want to go through the task (as risk) or upgrading the OS yourself.

Either way, you choose, be it the Max or Plus, it’s still a great AI Box, that is solid and stable, does video fairly well (looking at your YouTube audio delay), and even though, on paper, its Wi-Fi specs are not the best, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto perform well enough, albeit initial connection can be a little hit and miss at times.


0:00 – Brief overview
0:20 – Unboxing
0:34 – Features & design
1:00 – Bootup & main menu
1:43 – Settings
1:54 – Ambient RGB Lighting Config
2:18 – OTA Updates
2:28 – Android Apps, YouTube & Netflix
2:55 – Gaming & BT Controller Input
3:18 – SD Media Playback
3:40 – Wireless Apple CarPlay
3:58 – Wireless Android Auto
4:17 – Wi-Fi Specs
4:40 – 5 Things I Don’t Like About Tbox Max
6:00 – 5 Things I Like About Tbox Max
6:36 – My Impressions
7:01 – Benchmarks & App Launch Test

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