In this video, I check out Heyincar H1 Apple CarPlay AI Box. You can buy this AI Box for $89 / £70 / €80 directly from their online store with a 1-year warranty 👉🏻 https://bit.ly/heyincarh1.
This is an Android 11 AI Box for Apple CarPlay car systems, that not only brings wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it also offers an open Android platform that allows you to download Android Apps onto the adapter and run them on your CarPlay display.
In the box you get a pair of instruction manuals, there is the H1 adapter itself, and there are two short USB cables to power the adapter, one USB-A to C cable and one USB-C to C adapter for more modern vehicles.
Features & Design
Looking over the adapter, the casing has a slim profile, with various ridges to its casing. There are passive air holes on the bottom of the casing, and on the sides, you’ll find the USB-C port to connect its power cable to and the other end goes into the CarPlay port in the car. On the other side, there’s a TF card slot for expanding its small 8GB of remaining internal storage to up to an additional 128 GB. There’s no SIM card slot on this adapter, so you’ll have to rely on a nearby Wi-Fi source or hotspot from your phone to supply internet to the few pre-installed or downloaded Android apps on the adapter.
Inside the adapter, there is a slower Qualcomm 2290 CPU that comes with an Adreno 702 GPU. Overall, this is a less powerful CPU than most other AI Boxes that I have reviewed, and with just 2GB of RAM, there is a reduction in performance in intensive Android Apps and general multi-tasking, whereas this kind of spec is more capable for casual video streaming use.
Boot-up & Apps
I first ran this adapter on a standalone CarPlay display to log into and download some test apps. I was surprised that the adapter ran on an Android 11 core operating system, the adapter didn’t include any of the usual suite of Google and third-party apps you come to expect on other AI Box adapters. The Google Play Store showed many common apps weren’t available for this device, which I found frustrating. Apps like Google Maps, Google Chrome and Spotify, to name just a few, had to be downloaded from APK mirror sites. Once installed though, they each ran ok, but any future updates of these side-loaded apps would need to be managed manually going forward.
Pre-installed apps, Netflix and YouTube ran ok too on the CarPlay display, with no noticeable delay in the audio, but on my stock VW system, there was a light delay. Getting to the content you want, however, was a little frustrating due to the slower CPU making keyboard entry and content updates on screen a slow and clunky process. With 2GB of RAM and slower than most CPU, general use, multitasking and navigation on this adapter can be a long process while using its relatively simple and basic menu interface. The six app shortcuts on the right side of its home screen can’t be altered, and any remaining or downloaded apps can only be accessed from the main All App button, there are no side screens to swipe over to. I found if I accessed this area too quickly after boot up, it took a number of seconds before any new apps would appear alongside the pre-installed ones.
The H1 AI Box is mainly aimed at entertainment, so this box doesn’t have any built-in GPS capability, which explains why Google Maps wasn’t pre-installed. Using maps with this adapter will use the Wi-Fi source or hotspot location for positioning, which isn’t as smooth or reliable as a built-in GPS connection. Instead, you’ll have to use CarPlay or Android Auto for navigation which will use your mobile GPS directly, or you can go into the adapter’s Factory Settings area and allow the adapter to use your car’s own GPS connection if it has one.
Wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
For wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, this adapter uses the SpeedPlay Android app to connect to your mobile device through its software app. SpeedPlay is one of the more basic Android apps of this type, with limited settings options to customise the experience. Bluetooth connection into CarPlay took 16.98 seconds, whilst on Anndroid Auto connection took 13.25 seconds.
One advantage of this adapter that I liked, is that I didn’t need to manually switch between Wi-Fi and hotspot modes to use CarPlay or Android Auto after browsing videos on its Android YouTube app, both were able to operate simultaneously as long as the Wi-Fi connection to the adapter wasn’t coming from the same mobile device hotspot.
Gaming & Casting
I found gaming on this adapter is a little limiting in the kinds of games you can play on it. First is that some common apps couldn’t be downloaded from the Google Play Store, and second is its general performance. The Adreno 702 GPU doesn’t benchmark all too well, so sticking with 2D or very lightweight 3D games will be your only choice here. This adapter does have dual Bluetooth support, so you can pair a Bluetooth remote or gamepad for better control in games and apps that support this input method. Control knobs and dials in certain vehicles are also meant to be supported.
Finally, this adapter has the ability to cast to your CarPlay display. Mirroring my iPhone after connecting to the adapter’s hotspot was quick and easy to do and audio was in sync enough to watch video content from apps running on your phone, such as YouTube or TikTok.
The H1 Android 11 AI Box from Heyincar retails for $89.00 or £70 from their online store directly, and I will leave links down below to learn more about this AI Box and to buy yourself one.
Although this adapter has its limitations due to its low-spec hardware inside, this allows it to be as cheap as some dedicated wireless adapters. Being aimed at entertainment means this adapter isn’t going to run fancy complex games or multi-task through a wide variety of apps on your CarPlay display, it is aimed at mostly streaming video from YouTube and Netflix, whilst also allowing local video and music files to be played back instead and for that it does it fairly well.
If you choose to push this adapter into more areas, you might likely come away disappointed with its performance which can frustrate you at times as its 2GB of RAM and limited storage capacity will limit your overall enjoyment. But if you can work around these restrictions and just want to access or cast video on your CarPlay display, then this adapter ticks that box at a very affordable price.