In this video, I check out the very latest MMB Max CarPlay AI Box Adapter, which offers a fancy new UI interface, but is this matched under the hood? Let’s find out!
This is MMB‘s current flagship AI box for Carplay systems which offers a faster chipset, a re-designed UI, featuring lots of additional functionality and visuals, as well as the usual 4G SIM and SD card support, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto support, and the use of Android Apps such as YouTube and Netflix on your CarPlay display.
In the box, you get the MMB Max itself, and it comes with a USB-A to C cable to power the adapter, and there is also a USB-C to C cable for more modern Carplay vehicles.
Feature & Design
The AI Box is thinner than their earlier models. At one end of the adapter, there is a USB-C port to power the MMB Max, and on the opposite end are SIM card and TF card slots underneath a plastic protective flap, to give the adapter a more reliable internet connection for Android apps, and additional storage for media playback and apps.
On top, there is a wealth of logos and there is a status indicator light which glows whilst the adapter is powered. On the bottom side of the adapter, there are lots of perforated holes and a metal heat sink to help cool the CPU that sits inside.
Boot Up & Menu UI
I connect the MMB Max to my Pioneer 93DAB CarPlay receiver in my demo pod, and the MMB Max started up with an initial boot animation sequence before resting on its main home screen interface. The total boot-up time took 31 seconds, which sits on the faster end of all the AI boxes I have tested.
The menu system on the MMB Max is a lot different to most other AI Boxes, and like the MMB 11 Plus adapter, it is one of the most visually rich, with a bottom dock consisting of two buttons on the left to go to the home screen and invoke the Google assistant, followed by four apps of your choosing, and on the right-hand side there is the time, date, and small status bar icons, that when tapped act as a shortcut to go into the adapter’s preference pane.
From this preference pane, you can view the time and date and be able to toggle things like mobile data connection, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, to altering the layout of the home screen between 1 of 3 layouts and return to Android Auto or Carplay as well as the original system menu.
Swiping left from the home screen will take you to a few screens of pre-installed Android apps. The home screen itself has GPS-based metadata, such as the weather, time and date, and there are quick access widgets to CarPlay and Android Auto, whilst swiping further to the left brings up an overview screen which shows the CPU temperature, current RAM and ROM use, and GPS satellite connections.
All the usual apps come preinstalled on the adapter, including the usual Google suite of apps, along with common functionality such as CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth music, APK manager, and many more popular streaming apps such as Disney+, Netflix, YouTube and HULU apps. There are also some additional bespoke apps dedicated to the MMB software which allow you to change the background wallpaper, enhance the audio in the EQ app, upload a custom start-up animation, and toggle a background animation as an alternative home screen instead.
Whilst in any loaded app you noticed that there is a small floating button, that we all love to hate, which is present on top of any running Android apps. Luckily this button doesn’t overlay in its app for CarPlay and Android Auto, so at least you get a full-screen experience there. Selecting this button lets you go back, return home, cancel any running applications, switch between other running apps, and invoke the Google Assistant.
Getting the MMB Max Online
Like with all AI boxes you need to give this AI Box an internet connection, via either a Wi-Fi hotspot, tethering to your mobile phone Wi-Fi hotspot, or using the internal SIM card slot to give its own internet connection. Once online you can go to the Google Play store to download any of your favourite apps. Any apps not present on the store will require downloading from APK mirror sites and side-loading them onto the adapter instead.
YouTube & Streaming Apps
In the YouTube app everything ran fine and smooth with no significant or obvious drops in frames or audio being out of sync. The picture in picture mode is also present here like most other AI Boxes.
I downloaded the Device Info app as well as Geekbench onto the AI box and this showed that the MMB Max uses an entirely different chipset to most other AI boxes that are selling today, and unfortunately it doesn’t benchmark as well as its competitors in the same price range. Its Wi-Fi specs are on the high end of AI Boxes, offering Wi-Fi5 and 433mbps bandwidth for casting and wireless CarPlay and Android Auto.
Casting Video From Your Phone
Unlike many other AI Boxes, casting is possible on the MMB Max, meaning you can connect the adapter to your phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot and cast content from your phone to the adapter. This works relatively well, with audio in sync with video being cast on your CarPlay display. But for the best experience, it’s best to play back natively from an installed Android app.
Dropping in an SD card full of media allows you to playback audio and videos onto your CarPlay display via apps like VLC. In my high bitrate tests there were some stuttering, yet more lighter video files seemed to playback smoother.
True 60FPS, or is it?
The MMB Max is the only adapter I’ve tested that does true 60fps in its UI and apps. Yet even then, the graphics in some test games struggled to keep up with a decent framerate. So I wouldn’t let its 60fps support rule your buying decision with this adapter. Simple 3D games like Crossy Road had some noticeable frame stutter and input lag, and its Vulkan GPU bench test came up very dissapointing against its competition.
Using its connecting app for wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, I tested bootup times of 20.23 for Apple CarPlay and 11.76 for Android Auto, which is one of the slower AI Boxes for CarPlay, and one of the fastest to launch into Android Auto – when it works. Connecting to Android Auto was not as reliable and at times a struggle to launch on my Google Pixel, requiring a restart to get it working after using CarPlay. Once in Android Auto, the resolution was larger for the high-definition display of the Pioneer compared to how it displays on other AI Box adapters. So in light of this, I would recommend the MMB Max for Android Auto. CarPlay on the other hand was fine, and like other MMB adapters, the Max makes it easier to configure the AI Box to auto-launch into CarPlay after its initial boot sequence.
The MMB Max AI Box adapter retails for $299 from their store on Amazon US 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3EEWRj2, £164.80 from Amazon UK 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3RlmkFu, €222.79 from Amazon DE 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3Lnl80M. You can support the channel and this site by clicking on these links to learn more and to buy yourself one.
It took me many months to bring this review to you. I had to wait months for a software update that would fix wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, and due to continued instabilities, I also had to have a second adapter sent over to me. So in short my time with the MMB Max wasn’t that great.
The one thing it has going for it is its user interface, which is one the best out there, but sadly its hardware limits its potential with below-average performance in app launching and general CPU and GPU benchmarking.
So when compared to other AI Boxes in its price range, you can do better looking elsewhere. If you’re on the lookout for an AI Box then I recommend you check out this latest round-up video here 👉🏻 https://youtu.be/LrFHjrYnoDE
0:00 – Brief overview
0:33 – Unboxing
0:43 – Features & Design
1:23 – Boot up & UI
2:57 – Apps
3:55 – Internet
4:22 – YouTube
4:30 – Device Info & Specs & Benchmarks
5:01 – Casting
5:24 – SD Card Media playback
5:39 – 60FPS & performance
6:12 – Wireless CarPlay & Android Auto
7:13 – My Impressions