I bought a used BMW 3 from my neighbor not long ago.
Now, before you think I dropped mega boatloads of cash on a luxury car: it is a higher mileage vehicle and a 2010 model, but I’m still happy as a clam.
After these last 10 years of car testing, I wanted to own something that was fun to drive and looked sleek. Plus, I started testing cars the year this vehicle came out. Anyway, I did notice right away that the infotainment system wasn’t quite up to tech standards.
The Car and Driver Intellidash+ is an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto device that connects to your windshield and provides all of the features of a modern car. For only $350, it is a great way to upgrade to the latest technology without having to do that by buying a $40,000 car.
And, it worked wonderfully. I had some issues on a hot day with the mount, which is not really something I can fault the actual display for doing. In all of my tests, the device itself worked flawlessly. I was able to stream from the display to a FM station on the radio of my car, and I also tried the 3.5mm cable directly into the free AUX port.
To connect your phone, you connect using your own USB cord. In my case, that meant a lightning cable. (Android users would use a micro-USB cable.) Now, you can also stream from your phone to the device over Bluetooth, but that doesn’t involve CarPlay or Android Auto. It’s a convenience feature if you want to connect with your phone over wireless.
(By the way, modem cars do let you stream from your phone to CarPlay, so that might be an upgrade we’ll see at some point with devices like this.)
I tapped on all of my favorite apps just as easily as I have been in my car tests, accessing podcasts and Apple Music, talking to Siri, and getting directions. When you pair this gadget to a car like mine, it really helps increase the value. I didn’t miss the other features as much, as long as I have CarPlay and Siri at the ready.
Setup is easy, and the USB port also doubles as a charger for your phone, which is handy. I couldn’t think of any other features I’d want. The screen is bright and clear. The touchscreen is responsive, and once the humid days were over, I never had any trouble with the mount. I have wondered if there is a more permanent mount I could use in the future, perhaps one that adheres to the dashboard somehow and not the windshield.
Overall, I was happy to see all of this functionality and, for the price, would not hesitate to use the product with a car that is just not quite perfect and up to date on the latest tech.
My car is perfect in every other way, though.