CarPlay Lab
Welcome to No.1 CarPlay Blog. We cover almost everything about Apple CarPlay here.

Carlinkit 2.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter Review

by Mike
Published: Last Updated on 8 minutes read
A+A-
Reset
After Installing A Wireless Qi Charger In My 2019 SEAT Leon ST FR (With Volkswagen MIB 2 Based NAVI SYSTEM PLUS Head Unit) Came The Desire To Also Project The CarPlay Screen Of My IPhone X (Running IOS 14.5.1) Wirelessly. So I Thought I’d Give One Of Those Adapters A Shot Despite The Many Sobering Reviews. I Would Like To Share My Experience With A Carlinkit 2.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter (CPC200-U2W Plus) In This Review, Running The Latest Firmware VER:2021.03.06.1355 (AUTOKIT).Changelog:[2021-05-18] Initial Publication

Hardware

Plug & Play

Installation Is Fairly Simple. It Is No Harder Than Plugging The Adapter Into The USB Port Of A CarPlay Enabled Head Unit And Pairing The IPhone To It Via Bluetooth. Wi-Fi Credentials Are Exchanged Transparently Over Which Future Connections Are Magically Established Whenever The Paired IPhone Gets Close To The Running Car.Volkswagen’s Modular Infotainment System (MIB) Is Built Into Many Cars From Their Different Brands (VW, AUDI, Skoda, SEAT/CUPRA, Porsche). So It May Have Received Some Special Treatment By Carlinkit. Connecting To It Is Very Quick And Reliable. It Typically Takes No Longer Than 20s After Turning The Ignition Switch Until Music From The IPhone Starts Playing Over The Car’s Speaker System. That’s Probably Not The Norm Though. So Depending On Your Car, It May Take A Bit Longer To Connect.

Functionality

As Already Pointed Out, The Main Purpose Of The Carlinkit 2.0 Is To Project The CarPlay Screen Wirelessly Onto The Car’s Dashboard. For This To Work, The Car Has To Already Support Wired CarPlay Via USB As The Adapter “Only” Translates Between The Two Worlds.It Also Features A Second USB Port For Limited Charging And Wired CarPlay Passthrough. The Latter However Only Works By Plugging The IPhone In Before Turning The Car’s Ignition Switch. As Soon As The Carlinkit 2.0 Adapter Has Established A Wireless Connection To The IPhone, Plugging The IPhone Into The USB Passthrough Port Won’t Result In A Switch From Wireless To Wired CarPlay Which Is Perfectly Within Apple’s Specifications Though. The Wireless CarPlay Session However Gets Disconnected For A Few Seconds Which Contradicts Apple’s Idea Of An Interruption-Free Operation. I Would Love To See A Hand-Off Option Which Allows The Current Wireless CarPlay Session To Be Terminated When Hot-Plugging The IPhone Via USB And Instead Establishing A Wired Connection, Accepting The Short Interrupt. Either That Or An Interruption-Free Charge Only Mode.

Human Machine Interface

Navigating The CarPlay Interface Via Touchscreen Is Quite Smooth And Not Perceived As Being Too Laggy. There Is Not Much Of A Difference Compared To Wired CarPlay. This Clearly Indicates That The Concept Indeed Works.The IPhone Properly Detects Through The Adapter That CarPlay Is Controlled Via Touchscreen Rather Than A Selection Knob Or Trackpad. So The IPhone Does Not Erroneously Focus On Some Item. Dark And Light Modes Are Switched Automatically Based On Whether The Car’s Lights Are On Or Off. So All Information Between Head Unit And Phone Seems To Properly Pass Through The Adapter.Steering Wheel Controls For Volume, Track Skipping (Previous/Next) And Engaging The Siri Voice Assistant Also Work Perfectly Fine With Hardly Any Lagging.Unfortunately Seeking (Fast-Forwarding/Rewinding) The Currently Playing Audio Track By Long-Pressing The Skip (Previous/Next) Buttons Does Not Work.

Media Playback

This Is Where Things Get More Interesting. While Apple Specifies Uncompressed LPCM Audio For Wired CarPlay, Wireless CarPlay Uses The Compressed AAC Format. The Adapter Therefore Has To Either Decode Or Encode Audio Depending On The Direction. There Is No Audible Quality Degradation Which May However Depend On The Music Service And The Used Audio Codec/Bitrate Combination. For Services Using AAC (E.G. Apple Music), Wired Vs. Wireless CarPlay Won’t Make Any Difference. It Doesn’t Matter Whether The IPhone Or The Adapter Decodes Audio. The Sound Output Is Pretty Neutral Which Can However Be Optimized Via Equalizer Of The In-Car Amplifier.Spotify Uses A Pretty Transparent 320kbps Vorbis In Its Highest Quality Preset. Transcoding That To 256kbps AAC-LC Shouldn’t Do Too Much Harm With The Upside Of Being Able To Use The In-App Equalizer.Low Bitrate MP3 Internet Radio Stations Will Probably Suffer The Most Which However Cease To Exist. I Probably Have To Add That While I Do Love Music, I Am Certainly No Audiophile.Also Transitioning Between And Mixing Two Audio Sources Works Flawlessly, For Example Engaging Siri Or The Navigation App Giving Directions While Listening To Music, Either Via App (E.G. Apple Music Or Spotify) Or The Head Unit.The Adapter Properly Handles The Different Types Of Audio (Music, Speech/Siri, Phone Call, Ringtone), Enabling The Head Unit To Store Separate Volume Levels For All Of Them. So You Can For Example Turn Up Your Music While Still Getting Directions At A Reasonable Volume.

Audio Lag

Telephony

Making Phone Calls Works In Principle. There Is Some Talking Over Each Other Every Now And Then Which However Also Happens With Wired CarPlay From Time To Time.In Order To Be Able To Classify The Phone Call Performance Via Carlinkit 2.0 Adapter And To Get A Better Feeling About The Different Scenarios, I Called An Echo Test Number And Measured The Round-Trip Time (RTT Or Two-Way-Delay). With No CarPlay Involved At All, RTT Measured In At ~400ms, Wired CarPlay Gave Me ~700ms And Wireless CarPlay ~1000ms. That’s Quite A Lot. Certainly Above The ITU’s Proclaimed Acceptable Delay Of Up To 400ms Per Direction For Conversational Audio. It Is Probably More Of A Systemic Than An Adapter Specific Problem Though.

Navigation

A Common Problem With (Wireless) CarPlay Is That The IPhone May Be Positioned In A Location Without Any GPS Satellite Visibility, E.G. In The Pocket, A Bag Or A Dedicated Wireless Charging Cradle. In Case Of Wireless CarPlay, Apple Therefore Mandates That Location Information Of An In-Car GPS Antenna Gets Passed On To The IPhone Via CarPlay Enabled Head Unit. The NAVI SYSTEM PLUS Of My SEAT Leon ST FR Supports It Despite Only Featuring Wired CarPlay. The Car However Is Equipped With A GPS Antenna. So Why Not Use It?So How About Wireless CarPlay Through The Carlinkit 2.0? The Adapter Is Perfectly Capable Of Further Passing The Location Information Of The In-Car GPS Antenna On To The IPhone. I Successfully Navigated With The IPhone In My Pocket Using Google Maps And Sygic GPS Navigation.

Security & Support

What Shocked Me Quite A Bit Was The Security Of The Device. The Spanned Wi-Fi Network Supports WPA/WPA2 Mixed Mode Even Though Every CarPlay-Enabled IPhone Is Perfectly Capable Of WPA2(CCMP). What’s Even More Concerning Is That I Could Manually Connect To The Adapter’s Wi-Fi Network With Another (Non-Paired) IPhone Via The Well Known 12345678 Passphrase And Change Settings Or Initiate A Firmware Update Via Web Interface. The Adapter Should In My Opinion Generate A Random Passphrase For Wireless CarPlay In Order To Prevent Manual Connections Which Is A Non-Requirement Anyway Since The Adapter Isn’t Supposed To Act As A Hotspot Which Lets One Share An IPhone’s Cellular Data Connection.

Verdict


Here Is A Final Rundown Of The Yays And Nays…

You may also like

Leave a Comment

carplay lab (200 × 100, 像素) (1)

Editors' Picks

Latest Posts

©2023 CarPlay Lab, A Tech Blog – All Right Reserved.