CPLAY2air Review: An Honest Review

CPLAY2air Review - featured image

I had long been frustrated with the inability to just get in the car and drive while CarPlay connects itself. 

Instead of having to plug in the iPhone and wait for it to boot up.

The introduction of CarPlay changed everything, and thanks to the CPLAY2air, I can now control my phone via my car’s infotainment system.

The product has recently had an update, so how does it perform? 

CPLAY2air performs well overall. It has broad compatibility, and its design is small and non-intrusive. While the WiFi connection and auto-connect features are excellent, it can crash, and the update process is clunky.

While CPLAY2air is a good option, my personal favorite is the CarlinKit, which I pick as the best wireless carplay adapter.

If you’ve arrived at this article without knowing anything about Wireless CarPlay, check out my article here.

It explains everything you need to know before diving into the rest of the article. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

CPLAY2air Unboxing

CPLAY2Air Wireless CarPlay Adapter

Since the update, CPLAY2air has seriously upped its packaging and branding game. The box looks and feels a lot more premium than the previous version.

Inside the box, the dongle is nestled in protective cardboard, and an instruction manual is included.

Unfortunately, the instructions appear to have been translated directly from Mandarin and don’t read particularly well. 

There is a picture guide, though; having used the CPLAY2air before, I could work out what I needed to do. New users may find the instructions confusing, so this is something to bear in mind.

What Is the CPLAY2air Dongle Like?

The dongle itself looks extremely similar to the previous version. The only difference is that the casing is shinier and, dare I say it, feels less premium compared to its matte predecessor.

I find it strange that they’ve obviously invested in their packaging but haven’t thought to do the same for their dongle casing. Minor detail, though.

Another downside to the cable is that it isn’t compatible with newer vehicles, meaning you might need to invest in an adapter.

How Easy Is It To Set Up the CPLAY2air?

Despite the dodgy instructions, the CPLAY2air is pretty easy to set up. After plugging in the dongle, the vehicle’s infotainment system quickly recognizes the device. 

After pairing my iPhone with the CPLAY2air, my iPhone interface showed up on my car’s infotainment screen. Pretty simple so far.

I tested the device by turning my vehicle on and off a few times. After each attempt, the dongle automatically booted up and connected my iPhone.

I’d say this was quite efficient and takes around 30-40 seconds on average to get going and be fully functional each time. So not quite an instant connection.

How Well Does CPLAY2air Perform?

Once my iPhone interface showed on the infotainment screen, I could use it with ease. The buttons were responsive, and I could navigate the menus without struggling too much.

Playing music felt much like any other type of Bluetooth-connected device. There are no obvious lag problems, delays, or skipping, at least not in my experience. 

All in all, I’m pleased to report that there are no issues here, and I am happy with how the dongle performed.

Each time I get into my car and start it up, the device connects automatically.

Since I initially plugged in and connected the device, I haven’t had to go through the manual setup process at any point. It’s a relief not having to faff about with reconnections and something I am definitely grateful for.

Using Wired Connection With CPLAY2air

wired carplay connection for comparison vs wireless carplay

Upon trying to plug a lightning cable into the CPLAY2air, the system crashed. This is, unfortunately, typical of such devices.

But just unplug the CPLAY2air adapter and connect via the normal wired CarPlay method, as you will have a more reliable connection.

How Easy Is It To Update the CPLAY2air?

Updating the device is a bit bizarre. I’m sad to say the device doesn’t perform automatic updates. Instead, you must go to this random web address on your Safari browser while your car is connected to CPLAY2air:

Once you have done this, you will be presented with a screen with various settings on display. Here is a button to check for updates, which you can press; if an update is available, it’ll do its thing.

I find this a bit clunky and inconvenient. It would be great if there were an app where I could go in and adjust the settings. It would be even better if updates happened automatically.

Overall, this area is a bit outdated. Not quite as easy as updating CarPlay.

I wouldn’t recommend updating the dongle unless you’re running into serious problems with it not working. This is because there are lots of reports of updates causing more problems.

What Is the WiFi Connection Like With the CPLAY2air?

Here’s where this little device really shines. Using a WiFi network monitor, I discovered that the CPLAY2airr contains not one but two antennas concealed within.

I also discovered that this particular dongle is the only one that features Wifi-5 and can handle a maximum rate of 866.7MB for data. 

When I checked the quality of the signal, the device achieved -64 dBm, which is the perfect range. Out of all the WiFi-powered CarPlay devices, the CPLAY2air offers one of the most stable connections and consistently performs well.

Which Vehicles Is the CPLAY2air Compatible With?

CPLAY2air is compatible with a wide array of head units, allowing it to be used in most car models. The company even states that if your vehicle is not currently supported, you can reach out to them, and they’ll let you know when they’re planning to add your vehicle to the list.

If you’re interested in learning whether your vehicle is supported, you can consult the list provided on the official CPLAYair2 website

How Much Does the CPLAY2air Cost?

It’s worth noting that you can’t buy this brand’s devices on Amazon or another third-party retailer. You must order them directly from the manufacturer’s website: cplay2air.com.

The full price of the device is usually $159.95. However, the company often has the device for sale at a reduced rate of $119.

How Quickly Can the CPLAY2air Be Delivered?

While the company’s website claims to take around two weeks to process and be delivered, many customers have complained that it often takes longer.

I think the key is to not be in a rush (it’s not a great last-minute gift option!) and beware of the fact that since the device is coming from another continent, some delays are to be expected, and delivery times can vary.

CPLAY2air Customer Service

There are several methods available for contacting the service team at CPLAYair2. Firstly, you can contact them directly via the CPLAY2air website contact form or by emailing info@cplay2air.com.

While at first glance, there appears to be a live chat facility on the website, this is not the case. If you need assistance with an order or need to ask a question, you will be required to provide your order number, email address, and phone number for someone to get back to you.

Their response time is quite slow – a few hours – so it’s not the most efficient service. I tried talking to them via Facebook messenger and found I had to wait the same amount of time for a response.

Unfortunately, there is no phone number available to call, so you’re relying 100% on written communication here.

Pros and Cons of CPLAY2air

No CPLAY2air review would be complete without a roundup of all its pros and cons. Here’s everything good – and bad – about the dongle at a glance:

Pros Cons
User-friendly. Instructions are bad translations from Mandarin
Using the interface is quick, and you don’t experience much lag Using a lightning cable is futile and crashes the entire system
The CPLAY2air wireless adapter’s connection is good The look of the dongle feels cheaper than the previous version
The automatic connection when starting your vehicle works and is consistent The process to update isn’t user-friendly
The device is inexpensive  Long shipping times

Even though I’d generally recommend trying the CPLAY2air out, it’s ultimately up to you to determine whether it’s worth the investment.

Final Thoughts

Despite its faults, the CPLAY2air is a convenient device and performs well overall.

When I compared it to other CarPlay devices on the market, it came in second, which is pretty admirable.

Would I buy this for my car? The answer is yes.

The WiFi connection and performance are good enough to justify the price.

That said, I would only recommend someone buy a wireless CarPlay adapter in general if you make lots of short journeys, as with longer drives, you’ll be better off with a good CarPlay lighting cable connection instead works better all around.

Picture of Alex
I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system! Founder StereoUpgrade.com
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