- Subtle design
- Keeps a steady connection
- Can charge your device still
- Works with CarPlay and Android Auto
- Slow initial connection
Apple’s CarPlay is a great way to avoid having to use your car’s infotainment system and instead rely on your phone for music, maps, podcasts, and digital assistant support. But while wireless support is growing, many carmakers still rely on a wired connection for CarPlay and Android Auto — and that can get a little annoying. Even some new cars, like the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 don’t offer a wireless connection. And that’s exactly where the Carlinkit 4.0 comes in.
As the name suggests, the Carlinkit 4.0 is the fourth iteration of wired-to-wireless CarPlay and Android Auto accessory. It essentially plugs into your car’s infotainment system and lets you avoid having to plug your phone in every time you get into your car. So how does this latest version perform? I’ve been using it for a while now to find out.
Carlinkit 4.0 design
The Carlinkit 4.0 is small and subtle, and it should be small enough to tuck away in anyone’s car. It’s made from a carbon fiber shell, and has a USB-A port on one end, and a USB-C port on the other end. The double-port setup means you can still plug in a charger if you need to, and while I haven’t done so yet, I’m considering getting a MagSafe charger for my car so that I can still keep it charged up on longer road trips.
It’s a decently designed accessory, and while most will still want to tuck it away than keep it in sight, if it is in sight it doesn’t draw too much attention to itself.
It seems relatively well-built too. Again, I don’t think it should have to survive too much abuse in this setting, but I don’t anticipate most will break the Carlinkit 4.0 by accident.
Carlinkit 4.0 setup
Setting up the Carlinkit 4.0 is relatively simple, but you may run into a few bugs every now and then during the setup process, like I did. The instructions seem a little unclear as to the exact steps to take, and the translation doesn’t seem to have been done very well. I was able to set the device up, however, using the on-scren instructions that you’ll see if the device is connected to your car’s USB port.
Setup basically involves plugging the device in, and connecting to its Bluetooth connection. The rest should be automatic — like your iPhone asking if you want to use CarPlay with the device.
Carlinkit 4.0 performance
Once the Carlinkit 4.0 is set up, it performs decently well. The main issue that you might have with it is that it can take a while to load and connect to your phone. It’s not abnormal for the device to take 10 seconds or longer to actually connect to your phone, which can be a little annoying.
Once it’s actually connected, however, it seemed to perform extremely well. I was actually surprised how responsive and reactive CarPlay was to touch, and I never had any dropouts after initial connectivity. That could be because the device relies on a dual 2.4GHz and 5GHz connection for improved connectivity. The connection seemed almost like a wired one in terms of responsiveness, and actually faster than most other CarPlay Wireless connections I’ve used.
If you want the convenience of CarPlay Wireless or Android Auto Wireless without having to upgrade your car’s head unit or get a new car, then the Carlinkit 4.0 is absolutely worth considering. You’ll need a car that supports CarPlay through a wired connection first, and the device is a little expensive, but apart from the slow initial connection, it works very well.
There’s little competition in this category — and as a result, if you want a device that can convert your CarPlay wired connection to a wireless one, this is the way to go.
Should I buy the Carlinkit 4.0?
Yes. It makes using CarPlay that extra bit more convenient.