In this video, I look at the new CarlinKit AI Box Mini that like other AI Boxes allows you to convert Apple CarPlay into an Android OS system.
Coral Vision Wireless Pro A CarPlay Dashboard Console → https://carplaylife.com/cvpro
The CarlinKit AI Box Mini is basically the same CPC-200 TBox Android 9 dongle that I have reviewed previously on this channel, with a few new refinements, an optimised chip, a more stable GPS, and it comes in at a slightly cheaper cost.
It offers the same Qualcomm SnapDragon 450 chipset, and Adreno 506 GPU, with 4GB RAM and 64 GB ROM, nano-SIM and Micro-SD card slots, a longer USB power cable, and built-in GPS inside its new slim design with a textured top surface.
The AI Box Mini has been on a post-Christmas diet to shed half of its height/depth, and it now matches similar dimensions to smaller and thinner AI Boxes currently available, such as the Exploter ApplePie Mini I reviewed a few months ago. The AI Box Mini is now one of the better looking AI Boxes that are out there.
A Floating Burden
Sadly there is no change to the AI Box Mini’s user interface. With its ugly icons, and the same floating menu button continues to be the burden of your general navigation in and around the Android 9 OS. It comes with all the necessary apps I would want to use pre-installed on the dongle, including the normal Google Suite, YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, VLC and Waze. It’s recommended on their Amazon page – not to update or download any Netflix update, but all the others mentioned required updates as soon as I got the dongle online.
As with all AI Boxes, the dongle is pretty useless without an internet connection – unless you plan on using it as a glorified wireless Android Auto or Wireless CarPlay dongle. The Internet can be provided via a personal mobile hotspot or by inserting a SIM card. The latter is the more seamless and stable experience whilst on the move. But your overall experience in internet-driven Android OS apps will vary based on your internet connection and its speed.
Convert CarPlay to Android
Converting your CarPlay system into Android OS is simple as connecting the dongle to your CarPlay USB port. Both USB-C and USB-A cables are supplied, and boot-up takes around 24 seconds. Connecting to your Android 11+ phone for wireless Android Auto ran into an initial scrambled green screen in 25 seconds, but a restart of the AutoKit app solved this one-time seen bug. Once in Android Auto, apps ran just run and interactions through touch and wheel buttons went ok.
Wireless CarPlay was a little smoother experience. Taking 19 seconds to connect to my iPhone 13 Pro running iOS 15.4. Again, from here CarPlay functioned as it does as if it was connected wired, with the usual caveats of its 2second audio lag for calling, audio and navigation directions. The AutoKit app offers the ability to swap dock location (if your system doesn’t support this), microphone case, auto-connect, and the ability to change the home icon in CarPlay to match your vehicle manufacturer.
Overall, the AI Box Mini is your usual rebrand affair from CarlinKit. We’ve seen it with their Wireless Dongle 3.0 and 3.0 Mini, where the same tech gets squashed into smaller cash with a few cosmetic improvements applied to its casing, plus a few small refinements under the hood.
It’s a shame they didn’t take the advantage to include the QC665 CPU inside, or change its menu interface to a much better one, but I am sure we will see improved dongles soon enough from them, as well as from its competition.
0:00 – Brief overview
0:46 – Unboxing
4:45 – Installation & Demo
11:53 – YouTube
12:14 – Netflix
12:40 – Amazon Prime
13:00 – Gaming
13:29 – Convert CarPlay to Android OS/Auto
14:06 – Wireless CarPlay
17:14 – Wireless Android Auto
19:47 – My Impressions