HDMI IN & OUT CarPlay AI Box | Ottocast Picasou 2 Pro CarPlay Adapter Review

In this video, I check out the Ottocast PICASOU 2 Pro CarPlay Adapter, which is one of the first AI Boxes to offer both HDMI OUT and IN connection.

You can buy this AI Box currently for a huge 30%-OFF at $266 or £220 directly from Ottocast using coupon code ‘OTOCAR30’ 👉🏻 .

This is an Android 10 AI Box for factory Apple CarPlay and aftermarket systems. It features 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM, a fast Qualcomm 665 CPU and an Adreno 610 GPU. There is a USB-A port for media playback and there are both HDMI OUT and IN ports for displaying content onto an external display as well as accepting content from an HDMI device such as an HDMI streaming stick or games console.

In the box you get a how-to-install card, a paper instructions manual, there is the PICASOU 2 Pro AI Box itself, a USB-A to USB-C power cable, a USB-C to C cable for modern CarPlay ports in the car, and there is also a bypass power cable should your CarPlay port not support sufficient power to the adapter.

Features & Design

Looking over the AI Box. Its casing is more similar to other AI Boxes than its non-Pro brother – Ottocast Picasou 2. There’s Ottocast branding on top, On the sides, there is a USB C input port to power the adapter and alongside this port is a 4G SIM card slot to give internet access to the adapter from an inserted data SIM.

Over on the other side is a USB-A port for media storage and playback, and on either side is an HDMI OUT and HDMI IN port. 

Bootup & Main Menu UI

In my test, I connected the PICASOU 2 Pro to my Pioneer 93DAB receiver in my demo pod. Bootup time took around 28.20 seconds before resting on its sleek-looking main menu interface, which is currently the fastest to boot AI Box that I have tested. 

Its home screen interface is the same as its rounder brother, consisting of a side dock and a series of widget panels. The side dock shows the time, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth status, the last two used apps, and shortcuts to launch the Google voice assistant. Below this are back and home navigation buttons. 

The largest panel on the home screen is a shortcut to launch a chosen maps app, or you can choose to run a navigation version of a chosen maps app in this panel instead. Below this is a media player widget panel that will control any local or Bluetooth media file playback.

To the right of these panels, there are three additional panels. The first is a local weather, date and time widget. Below is a contacts widget, to access up to three of your favourite contacts. And below this panel, there is an app shortcut panel to access three of your favourite or most used apps. These can be configured to launch any app that’s installed on the AI Box.

Pre-Installed Apps

Swiping the home screen will reveal all the pre-installed apps on the adapter. Here you’ll find the usual suite of Google apps, Netflix, YouTube, Spotify and Waze, amongst other system and media apps. One, in particular, is an LED settings app that you can use to customise the adapter’s LED lights to any colour you choose. Any additional apps can be downloaded via the Google Play store, and there’s an APK installer for installing any unofficial or unsupported apps onto the adapter, such as Hulu.

Getting Online & Specs

Overall I found its menu system to be fairly intuitive and responsive and it does a good job of keeping downloaded apps consistent with the stock UI elements. The adapter does require an internet connection to make full use of its home screen widgets though.

Once I had the adapter online, I downloaded the Device Info app to find out that the adapter is running the Qualcomm 665 chipset at 2GHz, and its GPU runs at 320MHz. In short, this adapter shares the same specs as most of the higher-end AI Box adapters. 

Pro Performance?

I fired up the Geekbench app to see if it performed just the same. After running its single-core, multicore and GPU benchmark tests, its results were very similar to the Picasou 2, with very little between them. 

The PICASOU 2 Pro also supports HDMI output to a second display, whether it be an HDMI monitor in the car, a TV, a monitor, or a projector. I tested this out on a portable HDMI monitor, my Samsung Ultrawide monitor, and my Samsung 64” TV, with audio successfully passing through to the connected display. So this adapter may be good for taking to hotels or to the office to run Android apps onto a TV or monitor. Its output doesn’t adjust to the ratio of the display it’s connected to, so content can look stretched or distorted on ultra-widescreen monitors.

Remote, Controller Support & Gaming

Unfortunately, like the non-Pro model, this AI Box doesn’t have dual Bluetooth either, so it wouldn’t connect to my Bluetooth Xbox controller. It will, however, pair with a wireless Bluetooth remote. So, overall, this may limit its use for gaming, apart from touch-screen, one button or D-pad games that can be done from the remote. Using the remote, you can control the AI Box from a distance for things like browsing and watching Netflix or YouTube without a touchscreen monitor.

Thanks to its fast processor, the PICASOU 2 Pro is capable of playing some decent Android games on your CarPlay display. My test apps Crossy Road, Subway Surfer and Asphalt 9 Legends had no problem running ok on the AI Box. 

Media Storage & Video Streaming Apps

You have just under 50GB of storage for game and app downloads, or you can use this space to store local movie or music files, and if you ever run out of space you can still continue to expand on this by inserting a USB drive into the adapter’s USB-A port.

If you prefer to stream your video content you’ll need to get this adapter online. You can choose to connect to a local Wi-Fi hotspot, a mobile data hotspot from your mobile phone, or insert a SIM card with a mobile data plan into the adapter instead. Using a SIM card supplies the adapter with an internet connection for Android apps, leaving the Wi-Fi free be used to operate wireless CarPlay and Android Auto. It is also worth pointing out that like some other AI Boxes, this adapter doesn’t allow calling from the inserted SIM in the AI Box.

Once online you can download any apps you desire from the Google Play Store and run video streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube. Audio playback in either of these apps was in sync, and navigation in each of the app’s menus is smooth when compared to lower-spec AI Boxes.

Wireless CarPlay & Android Auto

Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto use the basic MultiPlay Android app. This app has some limited settings. The PICASOU 2 Pro has the same great Wi-Fi specs as the Picasou 2, expect the same great wireless performance here too. Wireless Apple Carplay took 16.8 seconds and Android Auto took longer at 16.2 seconds to pair and connect to the AI Box, which was almost twice as fast as the PICASOU 2. 

From here, both car platforms behaved responsively to touch input, with the usual common Wi-Fi traits of a slight 1-2 second delay in music and navigation audio, whilst Android Auto continues to use the older full-screen mode on this AI Box. 

My Impressions

This PICASOU 2 Pro CarPlay AI Box from Ottocast currently retails for , and you can check out my links in this article to learn more about this AI Box and to buy one.

It may not be the most unique-looking AI Box when you compare it to the rounder non-Pro model, but it does have a slight boot speed advantage over it, and it’s time to launch the four test apps Spotify, Maps, YouTube and Netflix weren’t that much different to the non-Pro model, with good speeds to launch into each of them. If wireless CarPlay and Android Auto is an important feature for you, its boot time into each platform was 14 and 8 seconds faster overall than the non-pro in my test. So there is a small advantage there.

Both offer HDMI Output, with similar output results. But the Pro has the ability to input an HDMI signal into the adapter. In my tests, this didn’t go that well. I tried a 4K Apple TV, MacBook and PC desktop machine, and after spending a good hour I just couldn’t get my AppleTV to work. At times it would show for a few seconds before going to a black screen.

Using the MacBook and PC HDMI connections required me to drop the resolution to 720P or 1080P Auto before the Ottocast 2 Pro would display the feed, but it’s unlikely you’re going to connect it to something like this in a car setup. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the ability to test connections to other streaming devices or a games console. So my takeback from this is it’s not as easy as simply connecting any HDMI device to it, sometimes it might not work at all. So I would hesitate if you have a specific reason to use this adapter for its HDMI input.

Other than its lack of Bluetooth controller support, a few choice decisions in its main menu interface and its questionable HDMI input performance, my overall impression of the PICASOU 2 Pro has been very good. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-range AI Box for your CarPlay display, then the PICASOU 2 Pro joins its rounder brother as one of the AI Box adapters to beat. With its solid-performing chipset and a more modern menu interface. This CarPlay AI Box ticks many boxes and almost justifies its Pro branding.

TIMESTAMPS:

0:00 – Brief overview
0:38 – Unboxing
0:56 – Features & Design
1:23 – Bootup & Main Menu UI
2:34 – Pre-installed Apps
2:53 – Downloading Apps & APK install
3:14 – Getting Online, Specs & Performance
3:49 – HDMI Output
4:25 – Slave Bluetooth, Remote, Controller Support
4:52 – Gaming & Storage
5:24 – Video Streaming (YouTube, Netflix)
6:13 – Wireless CarPlay & Android Auto
6:56 – My Impressions
7:46 – HDMI Input
9:26 – Top 5 CarPlay AI Box Adapters

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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