Enjoy my M.I.C. Apple CarPlay Android 10 AI Box Review. You can buy the successor to this fast performing AI Box for €229.99 from Amazon DE → https://amzn.to/3wd1ZrJ (same software and hardware, but with updated casing and added HDMI out). You may get stung for importing from outside Germany, so factor in around £58.80. But at around £192 conversion for the dongle itself, this should cost in total around £250 in total, including delivery, which is still reasonable, considering its performance vs the competition.
If you are nearer to the USA you can pick up this similar dongle under a different brand on Amazon US → https://amzn.to/3Km7XuA. AliExpress fans can pick up this same 4GB+64GB dongle for sub $200 here → https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_9xCItZ
In this video, I finally get to check out my first Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 AI Box inside this M.I.C. Apple CarPlay Android 10 AI Box. This is one of the fastest dongles I have had the opportunity to review on the channel. This is thanks to its Qualcomm SnapDragon 665/6125 chip inside. It offers 1.8x better CPU performance, 3.6x faster GPU, 1.6x faster memory speed, and 2.6x faster UX performance. So overall this is the best as you can get right now in terms of raw power under the hood.
Performance In Practice
In practice, I found the M.I.C. branded QCM665 dongle to be much smoother in its overall performance. The dongle ran at 60fps on my 800×480 Alpine display, making for smooth transitions in swapping screens and in video apps such as YouTube. The side-loaded Netflix app had a noticeable lower frame rate than YouTube, however, I am not sure if this is due to my chosen downloaded version from APKMirror.com or if it was a fight between a lower FPS in Netflix vs the 60fps from the dongle.
The dongle has an 8-Core 11 nanometer CPU, running at up to 2GHz. It has 4GB of memory and 64GB of onboard storage, which after the built-in apps and Android 10 operating system, left around 46.1GB of storage left for downloaded apps and local media. All this helps bring great improvements over all the other Android AI dongles I have tested on this channel, most of which still run the Qualcomm SD450 CPU. Apps like Google Maps transition much smoother, app tiles update faster and just generally make it more of a joy to use. We are still far away from a performance that we have come to expect on smartphones today, so I would say this is the lowest end of where we need to be for an ‘acceptable’ user experience.
A New Base-Level of Performance
Thanks to its boost in GPU performance, more intensive apps such as games really handle themselves much better. Games such as Asphalt 9 Legends really struggle on other dongles, yet on the M.I.C. it loaded much faster and performed smoother than its competition with less powerful graphics performance. However, with all this extra performance, I did still suffer from some of the more intensive videos I ran through its built-in player as well as in the capable VLC app. I encountered some stuttering on high bit-rate videos, which led to some drops in frame rate. This could be due to a number of reasons, but some lower-performing AI Boxes didn’t struggle as easily out of the box.
The M.I.C. AI Box has built-in GPS with multiple satellite support. This helps with built-in navigation apps, but personally, for a better experience, you will want to use navigation apps in CarPlay or Android Auto. Both platforms are offered wirelessly. This dongle doesn’t have a spare USB port for a cable connection. Wireless Android Auto is only supported on Android OS 11 and above. Android Auto fires up nice and quick, under 30seconds including the dongle boot-up time. Once launched you can control apps using the wheel controls as if your CarPlay only head unit supported Android Auto itself.
Both Android Auto and CarPlay uses the bundled MultiPlay Android app. This offers some customisation for the CarPlay home icon, which you can choose your vehicle brand logo. The left and right positions of the CarPlay side dock can also be set here. Once in wireless CarPlay, all the usual wireless traits are present here, with the usual 2-3second audio delay in music, calling and navigation commands. Long-term performance is still unknown however I had this dongle running for over an hour without any restarts or crashing. I did plug this adapter into a Pioneer SPH-DA120 and I did get a few early restarts and crashing, so there are some compatibility issues with this dongle that may occur on certain aftermarkets and car systems.
If you prefer to Bluetooth your calls and playback music to this dongle over BT, that is possible also, via the BT audio and BT phone app options. Media playback of local and inserted SD card content worked just fine, downloaded files can also be loaded from the file browser.
As with all of these dongles, if you want to use any of the native apps on the dongle, you will require an internet connection. This can be either from an inserted data SIM card on the dongle itself, via a personal hotspot on your smartphone, or from a local Wi-Fi connection to the dongle. Giving this dongle a stable fast internet connection is paramount for a smooth and hassle-free experience. Using a personal hotspot from your phone will lead to disconnections with wireless CarPlay/Android Auto, so you can’t use both at the same time. This is normal on all of these dongles and it can frustrate you if that is how you wish to use it. Give it its own SIM or Wi-Fi connection and you should not be limited in how you use dongles such as this one.
The M.I.C. Android 10 AI Box is one of the best AI Box to own right now. There are only a handful of QCM665 dongles out there, and most should perform the same, however, some others might opt for a different UI. The UI on the M.I.C. is my favourite UI at the moment. It is a please to use, it is clean and simple, it removes its side down when it needs to and brings it back with a swipe down from the screen. Widgets and folders can also be added if that’s your thing, and you can swap the fixed media player panel for a full icon screen by simply swapping the first and second screens over.
If you’re looking for an Android AI Box right now, this is one to beat. It performs better than most, it may not be the final end performing solution right now, we could be a year away from that, but right now the QCSD665 CPU dongle is the best you can get. And the M.I.C. offers the keys to enjoy this performance with their dongle at a fairly reasonably priced cost vs the offerings of its more less-powered competition.
0:00 – Brief overview
0:34 – Unboxing
2:30 – Installation
4:03 – Menu Interface
4:35 – Stock Apps
5:56 – Getting Online
6:32 – Device Info Specs
7:55 – YouTube on CarPlay
8:49 – Netflix on CarPlay
9:52 – Gaming on CarPlay
12:14 – Google Maps & Waze
13:13 – Other Stock Apps
14:38 – SD Card Media
16:08 – Wireless CarPlay
20:13 – Wireless Android Auto
22:52 – My Impressions