CPLAY2air vs Carlinkit: Which Is Best for You?

CPLAY2air vs CarlinKit - featured image

Wireless CarPlay adapters are an awesome way to give your car a smart touch. They give you hands-free control over your iPhone’s functions while you’re driving. The best part is that you can do this without attaching your phone to any CarPlay charging cables.

There are several wireless CarPlay adapters on the market, but the two featured in this article are top contenders.

Continue reading our CPLAY2air vs Carlinkit comparison to find out which is better for you!

CPLAY2air vs CarlinKit: A Head-To-Head Comparison

CarlinKit (Expert’s Choice)

CarlinKit Wireless CarPlay Adapter

  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 7.3 inches
  • Connectivity Technology: RCA, Bluetooth, USB
  • Phone Support: iPhone

 

 

CPLAY2air

CPLAY2air Wireless CarPlay Adapter

  • Dimensions: 3.23 x 1.57 x 0.55 inches
  • Connectivity Technology: Bluetooth, USB
  • Phone Support: iPhone

 

It’s time to pit the CPLAY2air vs Carlinkit adapters against each other! The following are the five aspects we used to compare both models:

1.   Design and Build

Overall, the CPLAY2air and CarlinKit dongles are compact and won’t take up much space.

The CPLAY2air has a slimmer flimsier feel to it. Whereas the CarlinKit has a rectangular shape with a slim profile. Regarding appearance, they’re both black and have a minimalistic design.

In terms of design and build, we can say that it was a tie, although the LED icon on CarlinKit is useful.

Whether you prefer one over the other will depend on your preferences.

2.   Connection Speed

You should know that several factors influence a wireless adapter connection speed. One of them is the car model. And the other is the type of hardware the adapter has.

The CPLAY2air was tested on various car models; it took an average of 25 seconds, which is still pretty fast for these types of devices.

CarlinKit, on the other hand, had a slightly slower boot-up time of around 25-30 seconds.

Not a huge difference, although it can feel like a long 5 seconds if you’re staring at the screen 👀.

The most important factor is that it connects and connects reliably, which we’ll touch on this in the following sections.

*In this example, CarliKit was already connected before entering the car

3.   Network Connection

Both wireless adapters’ network connection stability was adequate, with one outperforming the other. First off, both automatically connect once their initial setup is complete, which is convenient and what you’d expect of an integrated version of wireless carplay.

The CPLAY2air connection worked fine but lacked the distance compared to the other device, failing the “trunk test”.

The CarlinKit has received a lot of praise for its solid connectivity, which we now know is well-deserved. Even when the phone was in a pocket, the audio quality was clear and consistent. This is attributed to the dual-band wireless transmission we previously discussed.

4.   Compatibility

Both dongles are similar in that they don’t work with Android devices.

However, CPLAY2air has reports of bugs and compatibility issues, which are more common than with the CarlinKit device. 

In contrast, CarlinKit 3.0, is compatible with nearly all car models and can be used with aftermarket head units.

You should carefully read the manufacturer’s compatibility lists before purchasing to make sure it is compatible with your vehicle.

5.   Affordability

Both CPLAY2air and Carlinkit are similarly priced, although CarlinKit seems to be on offer more as it can be purchased via Amazon, whereas CPLAY2air can only be purchased from the factory site. 

It’s also worth noting that because the CPLAY2air can only be purchased from the factory site, the delivery times are far worse since it will typically come directly from china rather than from an Amazon warehouse.

You can find much cheaper alternatives, but we can’t promise that they’ll deliver comparable quality.

6.   Warranty and Technical Support

CPLAY2air offers a 15-day return policy, subject to certain conditions, in case you aren’t satisfied with their product. 

You’ll receive a one-year worldwide warranty if you choose the CarlinKit adapter. You can refer to their website’s FAQ section or email their customer service if you face any problem with their product.

*This is subject to change. If you purchase from Amazon, the returns policy may also differ.

CPLAY2air Overview

 First, let’s talk about the CPLAY2air wireless CarPlay adapter. This slim adapter is super compact and light.

The CPLAY2air is pretty easy to set up. You simply enable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and CarPlay features on your phone. Afterward, connect the CPLAY2air adapter to the car’s USB port. Finally, you pair the Bluetooth signals from your phone and the adapter, and that’s it!

The product includes a paper instruction if you need further assistance.

After you’ve set up this dongle, it’ll automatically connect your phone to the car with a full startup time of around 15 seconds. 

Speaking of compatibility, the CPLAY2air works with a range of factory CarPlay vehicles from 2016 as well as most major after-market head units, such as Alpine, Kenwood, Sony, and more.

Pros

  • Small and light
  • Easy to set up
  • Short startup time
  • Connects automatically
  • No audio lag
  • Free and easy firmware updates

 

Cons

  • Doesn’t support Android phones
  • Not compatible with all car models
  • Delivery times may be long

 

See a video by mr-fix, who discusses it in more detail, or view our full CPLAY2air wireless CarPlay adapter review:

CarlinKit Overview

 
Author Tested 4.5/5
CarlinKit 3.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter USB for Factory Wired CarPlay Cars (Model Year: 2015 to 2022), Wireless CarPlay Dongle Convert Wired to Wireless CarPlay…
  • CarlinKit makes wireless CarPlay easy! Super convenient to convert wired CarPlay to wireless CarPlay. 
  • Supports Most Vehicles and Phones
  • Enjoy automatic and wireless connection to CarPlay without the need for USB-cable
  • CarlinKit’s Lifetime Technical Support: 1-year worldwide warranty, Free updates.

Introducing our next contender, the CarlinKit wireless CarPlay adapter. This adapter has a sleek appearance and a slim build. It’s 3.1 x 1.8 x 0.5 inches in size and weighs 1.4 ounces.

CarlinKit has various versions, such as 2.0, 3.0, and the most recent 4.0. While this might be confusing, it’s mostly a marketing play with no major differences between the models. With this being said, we’d still recommend getting the 3.0 or 4.0 as they seem to have the most reliable software at the moment.

These are plug-and-play adapters, making them incredibly simple to set up. To activate the device, you can follow the steps outlined in the preceding product, which will only take a few minutes to complete.

carlinkit wireless carplay adapter all parts

What’s great about this wireless adapter is how it’s designed to provide the optimal CarPlay connection.

To explain, it has a new low-power consumption upgrade that reduces the problems associated with overheating. You see, the core idea behind this module is to produce less heat and dissipate it more quickly.

On top of this, the CarlinKit is designed with dual-band wireless transmission (5.8GHz+2.4GHz). This results in a faster response, an uninterrupted network connection, and no sound delays.

This dongle only works with iPhones and vehicles that have factory-installed CarPlay. It’s compatible with almost all car models; in fact, the manufacturer claims that it works with 98% of them.

Besides, it won’t be an issue if you have an aftermarket unit head installed. Most of them, including Pioneer, Kenwood, and Alpine, are compatible with this CarlinKit adapter.

carlinkit wireless carplay adapter in front of carplay screen

Pros

  • Slim and lightweight
  • Simple pairing process
  • Compatible with most car models
  • Crisp sound quality with no delays
  • Low power consumption; rarely overheats
  • Works with most aftermarket head units
  • Dual-band wireless transmission for optimized network connectivity

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Doesn’t work with Android devices
  • Incompatible with cars that lack factory-installed CarPlay

See a video by mr-fix that discusses it in more detail, or view our full CarlinKit Review:

Final Verdict

That’s a wrap for our CPLAY2Air vs CarlinKit comparison! Although both models performed superbly, we have to admit that the CarlinKit was a better choice.

Both dongles are compact, easy to use, and fall within a similar price range. However, the CarlinKit was superior in terms of compatibility, connection stability, and overall product.

Picture of Alex
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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