Raising the Bar: The CarpodGo T3 Pro Sets a New Benchmark for Portable CarPlay/Android Auto Displays

TL;DR: The CarpodGo T3 Pro redefines car display standards with its sleek design, innovative features, and exceptional performance, setting a new benchmark for CarPlay/Android Auto displays in 2024.

In this video, I check out a new benchmark for CarPlay/Android Auto portable car displays with the CarpodGo T3 Pro Display. You can buy this portable car display for $199 from the CarpodGo Store using my $50-OFF coupon code ‘carplaylife’ at checkout 👉🏻 https://bit.ly/carpodgot3pro and for $249 on Amazon US 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3uAlhJ8.

The CarpodGo T3 Pro could be the most sexy-looking CarPlay and Android Auto display screen on sale right now. Most CarPlay/Android Auto screen displays usually share off-the-shelf cases, displays, and software, which means very little innovation between brands and new releases. CarpodGo has tossed this commonly occurring trend with their 2024 T3 Pro Display.

In the box, you get a whole host of accessories to power and mount the display to either your windscreen or dashboard surface. Then there is the display itself, all in its Apple iPad aesthetic.

This 8.9” IPS display has a 1920 × 720-pixel resolution, a 230ppi pixel density, 16.7 million colors, and 60Hz for 60fps fluid motion. All in all, this display offers more than your conventional CarPlay display. It is laminated, providing good protection for the glass front screen, and the contrast between the bezels and the display is less apparent. Unfortunately, CarpodGo couldn’t go all the way with an even thin bezel all around the display; the bottom ‘chin’ is just slightly thicker for some reason.

The 8.9” display is thin and lightweight at 397g. It packs all the ports that you need, including a second USB-C for upgrading the display’s firmware. At the rear, the display is mounted via magnets – a first on a display for me. This makes it easy to mount using either of its two bundled solutions.

A generic windscreen mount comes supplied along with a base plate if you wish to use the mount on a dashboard surface instead of a glass windscreen. The second mounting option looks quite minimal, but in operation, its simplicity makes it work so well. With not much vertical height adjustment, the display is best mounted with its chin resting on the dashboard. This helps put less weight on either mount you choose to use. I prefer a lower mounting solution, so the minimal mount worked a treat and held onto the display without any worry from my side.

Powering the display is done using a USB-C to 12V adapter with a cable long enough to pass around the entire dashboard for a more discreet cable install. On the adapter side, there is a power toggle, which I found to be a nice addition. Also, there is a USB-A power passthrough port to power phones and other devices, like a wireless charger.

Once you mount it in the car and give it power, the display comes alive. In just 6 seconds, you are shown a customisable boot screen followed swiftly by the display’s main menu. Now, if the external aesthetics were jaw-dropping, be just as amazed by its user interface. Its software has had just as much care in the design department as its external design language. It’s certainly clean and simple, but I didn’t find myself wanting more. It kind of reminds me of a Sony head unit interface.

The main menu of the display comprises the time and a series of icons, or shortcuts, to key individual areas of the display’s settings screens. There’s access to CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth devices, Brightness, Settings, About, FM transmission, and Bluetooth Audio. In the Settings screen, you can customise the usual array of display and function settings. A few areas of note were the 10s timeout back to CarPlay/Android Auto, setting the driver side, and toggling the 60fps mode. You can also customise the wallpaper and launch screen to display the logo of the vehicle this display will be mounted in, for that personalised touch.

CarPlay ran perfectly, its display and icons were not squashed, and the 60Hz refresh rate made scrolling through CarPlay as smooth as butter. Other manufacturers, please take note! The screen was also as responsive as you’d expect, thanks to that laminated touchscreen display. Overall, for CarPlay users, this display not only looks the part, but it works just as well.

Five methods can be used to send audio from the display. The usual four methods are available here, which we have come to expect. These are: on-board audio, FM transmission, AUX cable connection, and Bluetooth Audio from mobile (the better kind). The latter connection means you’ll get wheel controls if you have them and use the Bluetooth audio option. Additionally, there is a fifth option – Bluetooth Receiver to AUX.

In the box is a small BT to AUX coiled cable that could easily connect a powered USB port and AUX port within around 1 metre. Once plugged in, the receiver flashes green and awaits a phone connection. Once paired with your phone, the adapter passes the audio through to the AUX cable, which can be received by your car stereo with AUX support. This is a third method that offers a wireless audio connection that reduces the need to have so many cables connected to the display and running your car’s interior style.

All audio connections sounded great, with the exception of the on-board audio, which was very quiet at max volume. However, it didn’t distort much at its highest output. Secondly, there was FM transmission hiss at low volume. This can be worked around by maxing out the volume and lowering the car stereos. Otherwise, AUX, BT audio, and BT to AUX all sounded fab! 

Unfortunately, like most displays and adapters, Android Auto users get the short end of the stick in this review. Connecting to the display can be less reliable than CarPlay. Once connected, the experience can vary greatly between devices. My Google Pixel 5 showed a slightly squashed ratio display feed and a lower-powered Oukitel WP36 Android phone had rather sluggish interactions and a stream that was a lot worse. It seems Android Auto is just not as consistent as Apple’s CarPlay. Diving into the Android Auto Dev mode and allowing a resolution up to 720p helped sharpen things up, but its performance just isn’t on par with CarPlay, sadly.

The CarpodGo T3 Pro retails for $249, which is certainly asking more from your wallet than some competing car stereo displays. But, I feel its price is fair when you look at what you are getting – and I didn’t even go into testing the bundled rear-facing 1080p camera!

The T3 Pro has plenty to like. I would class it as the CarPlay / Android Auto display to beat this early in 2024. It casts a shadow over its competition in the hardware and software design department. As for functionality, it sets the benchmark there too, aside from Android Auto. The T3 Pro looks great, sounds great, and it’s as close as you can get right now to slapping a car-friendly Apple iPad to your car’s centre console. If you’re shopping around for a portable CarPlay display in 2024, the CarpodGo T3 Pro Display should be high up, if not at the top, of your list.

TIMESTAMPS:

0:00 – Brief overview
0:36 – Unboxing
2:45 – Display Features & Design
5:33 – Boot-up Menu & Settings
9:28 – Wireless Apple CarPlay
11:08 – Microphone Test
12:19 – Wireless Android Auto
14:13 – In-Car Installation
17:12 – In-Car Demo
18:19 – On-board Audio Mode
19:43 – In Car Microphone & Call Delay
20:29 – FM Transmission Audio Mode
21:20 – AUX Audio Mode
22:09 – BT to AUX Adapter Mode
24:05 – BT Audio Mode
27:58 – My Impressions

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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