In this video, I check out the upgraded M.I.C. HDMI Box. You can buy this AI Box adapter for €209.99 from Amazon DE 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3cChFgu or for £269.99 from Amazon UK 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3RrP2BE. The G10Pro Air Mouse can be bought here 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3KJIjkd
This Android 10 OS AI Box mirrors the same specifications as the previous AI Box I reviewed from M.I.C., yet this one offers the addition of an HDMI output port and internally it also features faster WiFi chip specs too.
In the box you get the dongle itself, there is also a USB-A to USB-C cable to power the dongle and a USB-C adapter to connect to more modern CarPlay vehicles. Unfortunately, there were no instructions or a mini HDMI cable included in the box.
Looking over the dongle itself. It’s similar in its size to their first version with a new curvier design. It kinda matches the same casing as the CP-508 AI Box that you’ll now find shipping out of China, yet on the front, the M.I.C. shows the same model number as before.
On one end of the dongle, you have the same TF card slot for external media storage, a USB-C input port to power the dongle, and a SIM card slot to supply the dongle with its own internet connection.
Over on the other end of the dongle, there is the new mini HDMI port for video output to another display in the rear of the car, or you could simply hook up the dongle to a powered USB port and connect it to a TV or monitor display, and with a Bluetooth remote paired to the dongle, you can navigate and control apps on the dongle from a distance.
Both video and audio from the AI Box are sent over HDMI, however in my test with a secondary HDMI display, the primary CarPlay display lagged a lot behind the HDMI display, whilst the touch input on the primary carried out all my touch input commands on the HDMI display, long before the primary display could show it.
At the back of the case, there are lots of holes to help passively cool the Qualcomm 665 chipset that sits inside. This particular chipset does get quite hot, so it’s recommended that you have these holes facing upwards to help with cooling the dongle.
The QC665 (or it’s also known as 6125) is one of the fastest processors I have experienced in an AI box. I find anything less just doesn’t really cut it in terms of its speed, multitasking between apps and your general experience navigating menus and its main user interface.
Booting the HDMI Box into its main menu took 28 seconds from a hot boot. I tried it on my Alpine X902D and Pioneer 93DAB aftermarket systems without any issues, yet it didn’t boot on my Dasaita VIVID Android head unit, which is expected. Just like the previous version, they have used the same menu interface which has a persistent sidebar dock that displays the last three used apps, and there are clear back and home buttons that have additional functions when held down to enter split screen mode and to also switch between the currently running apps.
With 4GB of RAM inside, there is enough memory to hold a handful of apps in memory, to switch back to without having to reload them, and the 64GB of storage ends up being around 46GB after its installed Android 10 operating system and its preinstalled apps. This is plenty of storage space to download the majority of apps and media that you’ll want to use or playback on your CarPlay display, and should you need more you can always insert a TF card into it for additional storage up to another 128GB.
Getting the Dongle Online
All AI Boxes are pretty dumb without an internet connection, so the first thing you’ll likely need to do is fire up the Wi-Fi settings menu and tether the dongle to a personal hotspot from your iPhone or Android device or connect to a local Wi-Fi hotspot in your car. For the best experience, you can also insert a dedicated data SIM card into the dongle, which I recommend you do if you want to also use wireless CarPlay or Android Auto – this is because both need the dongle’s WiFi connection and it will disconnect the internet from the Android OS apps running on the dongle.
Once online you can update any pre-installed apps and download new ones from the Google Play Store or sideload any older or unofficial apps through the APK installer app on the dongle. Apps like YouTube and Netflix come preinstalled on this dongle. Both video streaming apps run well and can operate whilst on the move for any passengers that want to watch, but make sure it’s legal to do so in your country. I won’t go into too much more about software on this dongle, so check out my review of the earlier version to find out more, as it will be just the same as this dongle.
Wireless CarPlay & Android Auto
Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto are handled in the Multiplay Android app on the dongle. Pairing your phone to the dongle over Bluetooth will fire up each car platform wirelessly onto your CarPlay display. CarPlay took 12 seconds to launch whilst Android took 21 seconds.
From here, both platforms behaved responsively with the usual common Wi-Fi traits of a slight 1-2 second delay in audio and input commands. The improved Wi-Fi chipset shows improved max data rates of 433.3mbps and stronger signal strength over the earlier version of this dongle, so this will make this dongle more reliable than some other AI Boxes that are out there.
I tried out a few games on the dongle to test its grunt and performance. Like the earlier dongle, this handled some fairly intensive games fairly well. Again, without dual Bluetooth on this dongle I couldn’t pair up the dongle to a Bluetooth Xbox controller, but I was able to use a Bluetooth remote that M.I.C. kindly supplied me that mimics single touch screen input by moving the cursor onscreen and pressing the OK button, or using the D-pad to navigate the main menu UI.
This HDMI Box from M.I.C. currently retails for €209.99 from Amazon DE and they are also selling this AI Box on Amazon U.K. for £269.99, and you can check out my links below to find out more about this dongle and buy yourself one. Unfortunately, the HDMI Box from M.I.C. doesn’t sell directly on Amazon US, but you could try shipping from Amazon DE or Amazon UK, or worst case search for the similar CP-508 AI Box instead.
This dongle is more of an evolutionary upgrade to their original version, which was already packing the same Qualcomm 665 processor. The addition of the HDMI output port is handy if you want to pass a movie or videogame to a rear display in their car, or if you wish to use this dongle on an HDMI display or monitor along with the Bluetooth remote that M.I.C. also sells online.
As speed goes this dongle is still one of the best you can get right now, and honestly, this is really the baseline of where these AI Boxes should be. The faster chipset offers a smoother and less janky experience over less spec’d AI dongles with slower CPUs and GPUs, so if you’re looking to pick up an AI Box today I would consider putting this HDMI Box from M.I.C. on your shortlist.
0:00 – Brief overview
0:24 – Unboxing
0:41 – Features
1:23 – HDMI output
2:22 – Boot up and menu UI
3:48 – Internet connection
4:22 – Apps YouTube and Netflix
4:58 – Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto
5:39 – Gaming
6:10 – My Impressions
6:29 – US/CA buyers
6:52 – AI Box benchmarks