What Does This Smart Button Do? Ottocast U2-X Pro 2-in-1 CarPlay Adapter Review

In this video, I check out the Ottocast U2-X Pro 2-in-1 CarPlay Adapter, which features a special smart button, but what does it do…? In this review, we find out.

You can buy this adapter for $149.99 direct from Ottocast 👉🏻 https://bit.ly/ottocastu2xpro and they’ll ship worldwide. Use the coupon code SPECIAL15 for 15% off your order.

This Pro update to the U2-X features a physical button on the casing to disconnect from a connected device, update, and reset the dongle. Android Auto UI has been improved, and there is a revised settings menu which now offers switching devices from the start menu and some configuration and compatibility options.

In the box you get a paper instruction manual, there is the U2-X Pro adapter, and there are two USB power cables. One USB-A to C and one USB-C to C for more modern CarPlay vehicles.

Features

Looking over the dongle, you can see its size is roughly the same, with the same cut-out grills on the sides and on top, there is a new flat chrome effect with a similarly coloured Ottocast logo in the middle. On one end of the dongle, there is the USB-C input port to power the dongle, and over on the other side, there is a status LED light, a USB-A passthrough port that’s used for updating the dongle using a USB-A drive, and for wired Android Auto (but I couldn’t get the latter to work), and to the right is a new smart function button.

Holding this button down for 2s will disconnect the device from the adapter and return you to the boot menu. The manual says to just press this button once for this function but this didn’t work for me. Furthermore, holding the button down for 5s will switch to an update mode for use with Android devices, and holding the button down for 10s will erase all data and settings on the adapter and factory reset it to the same firmware that’s currently installed onto it – but it will not roll back to a factory stable firmware.

Boot Menu & Settings

Firing up the dongle for the first time gets you into its boot menu in 17 seconds. On this boot screen, you are shown the adapter’s Bluetooth profile ID to connect to your iPhone or Android, and on the bottom left is a settings menu button.

Entering the first settings menu page, you can set the system language, toggle Android Auto to display in full screen or split screen modes, set if you want to auto-connect to a previously paired device, clear all connection history and check the software version number.

On the following settings page, you can dive into some lightweight compatibility settings that are usually reserved in the IP config menu. You can toggle video and audio modes to help with any wireless video or audio streaming issues. Both options are currently set to Default for maximum compatibility, but if you can’t hear audio or have a black screen once connected, this is a good place to try and fix that. Finally, there is a quick troubleshooting section to read through and learn more about how the adapter works and how to use it.

Wireless CarPlay & Android Auto

Pairing my iPhone 13 Pro to the adapter’s Bluetooth profile took a few attempts for it to recognise it. Connecting to its Bluetooth profile ID was not an issue, but it seemed to stumble on firing up wireless CarPlay over Wi-Fi. It took a restart of the device before it would display wireless CarPlay, but beyond this point, wireless CarPlay worked fine. 

Connection from Bluetooth pairing took 13 seconds and the touch input and feedback were responsive. The common 1-2 second audio lag over Wi-Fi is still present here and this is unavoidable on these adapters, but overall, everything behaved as intended and other than the shaky first start, wireless CarPlay behaved just fine on my Pioneer 93DAB system. Audio quality from the Pioneer microphone via the U2-X Pro adapter sounded just fine too [SAMPLE].

Connecting to wireless Android Auto on this adapter took 16 seconds. Like CarPlay everything ran as expected, with slightly less audio and input lag on this platform, which is common on most adapters like this one. Android Auto was responsive and switching between full screen and split screen modes did work as intended, however, the split-screen mode on the Pioneer 93DAB seemed to be a little stretched out, with round icons appearing more elliptical. This feature is currently in Beta, so hopefully, this issue can be fixed in future updates.

Smart Button

Switching back to the boot menu using the new smart button on the adapter was a little hit-and-miss. When I was connected to Android Auto, pressing this button would only give me a few seconds before my Pixel 5 would immediately reconnect to the adapter and not give me enough time to do anything in the boot menu – and this is with the Auto Connect setting disabled! 

Returning back to the same platform after pressing this button wasn’t as seamless as I hoped either. I had to disable and reconnect to the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi profile before the adapter would connect to it. Swapping between iPhone and Android devices still requires you to turn off Bluetooth on the disconnected device to free up the adapter’s Bluetooth connection to allow a new or second device to connect.

I feel this feature would have been better if the adapter had dual Bluetooth to allow two devices to be connected. Right now, this button’s use is just a nicer way to factory reset the adapter and allow you to easily return to the boot menu without disconnecting the dongle. Still, because the button is so small it isn’t something you’ll want to fumble in the car’s interior for whilst you’re driving.

My Impressions

The U2-X Pro retails for $149.99 or £135.22 from Ottocast directly and you can get a further 15% off using the coupon code SPECIAL15. And I will leave direct links to the U2-X Pro down below so you can learn more about it and buy one.

Is the U2-X Pro an improvement over the older U2-X 2-in-1 adapter? In some areas yes it is. It has the same Wi-Fi specs as the original U2-X adapter that currently retails on sale for around $20 less than the U2-X Pro adapter. But this small additional cost of the Pro model will give you the ability to more easily switch between devices if you share the car with someone else, thanks to its multi-user boot menu. If you’re an Android user and you prefer the split screen mode, being able to switch to this mode is a nice value-added feature, and for some, a better experience on Android Auto. And finally, the little smart button can come in handy if you don’t want to completely pull the adapter out of your CarPlay USB port. But its functionality and my overall experience with it wouldn’t make me recommend this adapter purely for this feature alone. It doesn’t work as well as I had hoped, but it could be the beginning of a new feature on newer 2-in-1 adapters that I hope, in time, will improve and live up to achieving what it has been designed to be.

TIMESTAMPS:

0:00 – Brief overview
0:31 – Unboxing
0:44 – Features
2:01 – Boot Menu UI & Settings
2:57 – Wireless Apple CarPlay
3:43 – Mic quality
4:01 – Wireless Android Auto
4:18 – AA Split Screen mode
4:38 – Smart Button
5:50 – My Impressions

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