When you have an ageing motor vehicle, you make a few sacrifices. One of them is to go without the modern capabilities of a proper infotainment system, with wireless or even wired, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Carpuride changes that.
We got our hands on their 901 portable infotainment system, a unit that features smartphone connectivity, and the aforementioned wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and we’ve put it to the test.
Fitted to our 2011 Kia Sorento Platinum SUV, which has a pretty average and very small red screen for radio information, and some ultra-basic Bluetooth MP3 and wired AUX connectivity, the Carpuride setup has been like the coming of the messiah.
It’s literally that good by comparison to what we had (mind you almost anything would be better, but that sort of flippancy takes away from the quality on offer here). It’s a really good system, with a crystal clear screen, and solid construction.
All of the supplied cables and mounting options are solid, and not flimsy at all, although we have found it hard to get the screen to stay super tight in its connection to the base unit that mounts on the dash.
The mounting plate can be screwed down or stuck with the supplied adhesive pad. We went for the latter option, just on the basis that we might remove it in the future, and didn’t want to put four screw holes in the dash.
You can also suction it to the windscreen, meaning you can move it from vehicle to vehicle. It’s a really nice touch, because you don’t have to rip out your existing system to use the Carpuride unit, making it completely portable.
Power comes from a 12v socket, and importantly, there’s also a range of options to deliver the audio goodness that comes from this unit, including a USB connection, AUX cable and radio transmission.
The latter is the least desirable of the three, as no matter the frequency we chose, it was raspy. We opted for the AUX cable, and have to say, it’s brilliant. The audio quality is as good as a factory setup in a new car via this method.
It sounds great through the 8-speaker sound system that came with the car. There unit also has a built in speaker, which is on par with the level of sound you might get out of your mobile phone, natively.
In terms of features, there’s the aforementioned Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus full smartphone mirroring (so yes, you can technically watch a movie on it, but we’d recommend you don’t do that while driving).
A full graphic equaliser is offered to tailor the sound to your tastes as well, with some pre-set options, as well as a custom mode. Connection to the licenced platforms is simple, and easy, and in the case of the Apple variety, it auto-connects every time you get in the car.
For Android, you’ll need to turn on the auto-connection function on your phone to make that happen, but again, it’s seamless and instant. The only struggle we found with either was that some third party Apple apps didn’t want to power up on the big screen.
Among them was navigation system Tom Tom, but we suspect this is more an app issue with CarPlay rather than an actual problem with the Carpuride setup. The unit has 5G Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 as well, making it safer than some of its rivals.
This is so because that means two things; it supports Siri and Google voice control, and it supports hands free calling. That ensures there’s no need to take your hands off the steering wheel to control the device, making driving safer.
All-in-all, we’ve been really impressed by the capabilities of the Carpuride 901 portable infotainment system, despite a few little niggles. It retails for around $360, or you can opt for one with a reversing camera for about $390 (prices are AUD).
To find out more about the Carpuride 901 portable infotainment system, you can visit the manufacturer’s website. Use the code ENA_DISCOUNT to get 15 per cent off your order. Alternatively, you can order this product from Amazon.
Our test product was provided by Carpuride. Exhaust Notes Australia has not been paid to review this product.
Pros – wireless connectivity; simple and easy to use; variety of connection options; sharp, clear screen.
Cons – radio transmission option is average at best; unit is never really rock solid tight on base plate.