If before they might have seemed like an absolute novelty, they are no longer so. The "mini-PCs" that bring a complete and unlimited Android version into the car are becoming more and more numerous, and we have actually tried them all.
And just to be clear also for people who perhaps do not know this type of device, these are products that must be connected to the port of a car compatible with CarPlay and Android Auto and which, thanks to a "modified" operating system, deceive infotainment, are detected like a smartphone, but then bring to the screen a totally free and unlimited operating system, in which it is possible to install practically all the applications from the Play Store. And when I say all, I really mean all.
And whether it's "sticks" or real Android boxes, there is one thing that the vast majority of these devices have in common: slowness. Because yes, it is true that these are very compact products, but they practically integrate the hardware of a smartphone inside them and - in general - most brands tend to use low-end hardware, to keep costs down.
Fortunately however, not all Android boxes for the car suffer from this problem and the OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box it is the most clear example of this because ok, it brings all the features of Android into the car (and we understood this), but it does so with a peculiarity that should not be underestimated: it simply works.
OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box review: all Android apps in the car
Design and materials
In essence, the OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box it's a real box. The device has a circular size, it is slightly larger than the average for products of this type, and one section integrates a USB type C connector, to which the cable that comes in the package will be connected: the box contains several, both USB -A that USB-C, so it fits all vehicles. On the top there is an RGB LED which, via the operating system, can be customized in color and effects, so as to be able to create plays of light that can also be set to the beat of music.
Next to the USB connector there are two small slots, with which you can expand the device's memory via microSD, or you can insert a SIM to make the device totally independent from the smartphone.
Yes, because even if the OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box it can be connected to an Android smartphone or an iPhone via Bluetooth, or use the internet via a hot-spot, inserting a SIM with a data plan will exploit the connection, becoming a sort of Android "smartphone" in all respects.
In any case, despite the wide availability of cables in the package, I would have liked to see the device also equipped with a slightly longer cable, so that it could be adapted to all cars: in mine, for example, with a cable like this short I had a bit of difficulty positioning the product in such a way as to leave free space for wireless charging of the smartphone. But it's nothing unsolvable.
OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box it is sold in two different bundles. There is the "single" one in which only the device is present, or there is the one in which, in addition to the Android box, you will also receive an HDMI cable and a remote control. What are they for, you might say, but in reality one of the peculiarities of this product is its dual nature: it can be used in the car, and also connected to an external display (perhaps positioned behind) via HDMI, or it can be connected directly to the TV and become an Android media box.
The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, supported by 8 GB of RAM and well 128 GB of storage space. You will therefore understand that when at the beginning of the review I said that it is one of the few Android boxes for cars that works well, I was (also) referring to its performance: with this configuration all the slowdowns typical of these products almost completely disappear.
Furthermore, the presence of the 4G module also tends to greatly improve the precision of the integrated GPS, in this way it will be possible to use Android navigation applications, such as Google Maps or Waze, without having to use the smartphone.
In addition to the Bluetooth module and GPS, OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box it then integrates a WiFi module which can be used to connect the device to a hot-spot, if you do not want to use a 4G connection and which will also be used for connecting to CarPlay Wireless or Android Auto Wireless. However, it is important to remember one thing: when using the GPS module without taking advantage of 4G, the precision of the satellite fix could fluctuate and, certainly, the connection time would also increase.
Here is the complete technical sheet of the OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box:
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
- 8 GB RAM + 128 GB ROM
- Built-in 4G LTE SIM slot
- AGPS and GNSS GPS systems
- Bluetooth 5.0
Compatibility and operation
As with any member of the category, there is only one essential requirement to be able to use it OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box: even if it is a full-fledged Android box, the car in which you will connect it must be compatible with Apple's CarPlay.
Anyway, use OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box it's really simple and the whole experience is pretty much totally plug-and-play. Simply insert the device into the USB socket of your car dedicated to CarPlay and wait a few moments: after a few seconds, the system will delude itself that a CarPlay smartphone has been connected, and the initial screen will appear on the screen. OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box, which however is very different from what is generally found in devices of this type.
In fact, I am of the opinion that theOttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box is one of the most optimized Android car boxes from a software point of view: it is powered by Android 12 customized by OttoDrive 2.0, a graphic interface developed by the brand which makes the entire user experience decidedly more intuitive and more suitable for cars.
With this GUI, you will be able to customize the main screen with widgets specific to use in the car, you will be able to access a quick settings menu with which not only you will be able to manage all the connectivity options, but you will have access to very useful information on how the device works. In short, OttoDrive 2.0 solves the problem of too small and "tablet-like" icons typical of these devices, and makes the user experience much more suitable for use in the car and on the move, with large, clear and, why not, stylistically more beautiful.
Already from the first start, in OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box you will find apps such as YouTube Music, YouTube, Netflix, a file manager and much more installed. Furthermore, nothing takes away from the fact that from the Play Store you will be able to download all the applications available on the platform, which will be displayed in landscape mode just as if you were using a smartphone.
And the whole user experience is perfectly fluid and free of annoying lag. Its processor then allows the device not only to play videos in 4K or audio in Flac without problems, but also to run many of the games on the Play Store: via Bluetooth you can pair any gamepad, and you can play in the car watching content on the infotainment display. Not bad for passing the time while you're parked and waiting for someone, or for entertaining your kids while you're on the road.
Then there is a specific app thanks to which you can connect your smartphone. Whether it is an Android device or an iPhone, the smartphone will be able to connect to theOttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box wirelessly, to be able to use CarPlay and Android Auto via this box. Which means that, if your car does not integrate these wireless technologies, but allows you to use them only by connecting your smartphone, theOttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box will transform it making it compatible with wireless mode too.
Basically, all applications work well on this device. The only one that I haven't been able to get to work is Sky Go, but otherwise you can even install Telegram, which starts quickly and also allows you to listen to voice messages. But hey, as far as I'm concerned I would have done very well without some types of messaging apps, because in my opinion the only way to use these apps in the car and safely is through digital assistants.
Price and considerations
The sale price of OttoAibox P3 CarPlay AI Box it is $339.99, directly on the official website. But, for this period, you can purchase it at a discount of 70 dollars thanks to the coupon found in the box below. And yes, it is a device that probably won't appeal to everyone, created essentially with the aim of "evading" some (sacrosanct) limitations of the Android Auto and CarPlay systems.
And always underlining the obvious safety risks and the fact that obviously you should never use such devices to watch a film on Netflix while driving, or to watch YouTube if you are not parked, it is a product without too many frills which does what it promises, without too many problems, thanks to high-performance and complete hardware.
In short, it is true that the selling price is quite high compared to the segment average, but we are talking about the best Android box for cars around.
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