I got the CarlinKit CarPlay Adapter ($120 on Amazon) to enable wireless CarPlay in my new EV6.
It has worked excellently, it’s fast to boot up, and I haven’t had any failure or glitches yet. For the few drives I’ve done my music is playing by the time I’ve backed out of my parking spot and started to pull forward. I will likely continue using this until Kia enables native wireless CarPlay.
- Fast bootup ~40secs
- Automatically connects to your phone
- No glitches in audio on highest quality
- Easy to change settings
- Works just like it should
- WIRELESS CHARGER IS ACTUALLY USEFUL NOW
- Slight input lag
- Slight audio lag
- Slow to disconnect when leaving car (seems to be due to the car)
- Flashing green light when connected
I mounted it between the two USB ports using a Command picture hanging strip (sort of like velcro but better). The unit is nice and small, and the provided short usb cable works well for this location, though an even shorter cable might be better. The cable is long enough for the box to sit in the bucket under the center console but I prefer the mounted solution. However in this location the light on the unit is annoying. The red when disconnected isn’t bad but the flashing green light is distracting, especially at night. You could mount it reversed from how I did it, or put a bit of electrical tape over the light.
Connection to the phone works automatically, as long as your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled. Connection is initiated via Bluetooth and then Wi-Fi details are shared to make the full data connection. At this point the phone’s Wi-Fi switch in control center will go white and you will be disconnected from any network you were previously on. Clicking the Wi-Fi switch will cause your phone to ask you if you would like to disconnect from CarPlay.
You can set up multiple phones and the device will have them listed in a simple interface when it boots up. This interface can be disabled in the device settings and it will just show a black screen while it auto connects. Auto connection can also be turned off.
I’ve only ever used wired CarPlay in the past so I can only compare to that - I’m not sure how much of what I describe here also applies to native wireless CarPlay. Input lag is slight, but manageable. Pressing buttons is responsive enough but when swiping on the Home Screen or panning the map the screen lags behind the finger a bit. I find this to be a reasonable compromise to be able to use CarPlay wirelessly.
There is audio lag, the default is 1 sec. This seems to be so that the car can hold a buffer of audio so you don’t get glitches. You can adjust it in the device’s settings and it seems to work fine at the minimum of 300ms.
- 16 seconds until the light on the unit comes on.
- 8 seconds later the head unit on the car says “Usb Connected”
- 16 seconds later music is playing
It takes just over 3 minutes from when you open the car to when the device powers off and your phone reconnects to home Wi-Fi. This seems to be a limitation of the car cutting power to the socket. At about the 3 minute mark you get the notification that you left doors unlocked, then you hear the motor closing the air vent in the front grill, then it cuts power to the CarPlay USB port. I’ve found that walking into my house can be far enough to break the connection (I park right outside my door) otherwise you can hit the Wi-Fi switch in control center and disconnect manually. I personally don’t find this to be a huge deal, but I think native CarPlay from Kia should probably disconnect instantly.
Overall I find this product to be amazing and well worth the money to be able to use the wireless charger or leave your phone in your pocket. There are minor compromises but none of them are deal breakers for me. I hope that Kia enables this natively (it definitely has the hardware), but for now I’m perfectly happy with this solution.
I also have another unit that runs a full Android OS (full google play store available) that I will give a try, but I think I’ll probably stick with the CarlinKit.