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Review: Intellidash Pro – add wireless CarPlay without tearing your car apart

Don’t want to tear apart your dash to add aftermarket CarPlay? Add this instead.

intellidash pro on windshield showing apple carplay in use
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

We’re at a weird time for in-car technology. In-dash units have gotten better, but they still don’t always have the latest features. That’s a problem solved by aftermarket units, like the Intellidash Pro.

It’s also a transition period, where many cars on the road don’t have the luxury of an in-dash infotainment unit. Sure, you can resort to using your smartphone mounted on your dash, and for many, that’s enough.

That has its own problems though, as the screen is smaller and it lets you do things that you really shouldn’t do when driving.

Android Auto and CarPlay were created to use your smartphone’s power, but in a format that’s safe to use when behind the wheel. It’s rare to see a unit like the Intellidash Pro that has both.

Even newer cars could benefit from this aftermarket unit. Automakers have been slow to integrate Android Auto and CarPlay, often going with one or the other, or opting for the wired version only. This unit needs no installation, just some wires that need to be plugged in.

Let’s see if that promise of a hassle-free experience lives up to reality.

So, what’s it all about?

intellidash pro gps on a desk
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

READ MORE: Give your car wireless CarPlay and Android Auto with the AI Box Lite

Once you open the box, you’ll find the main unit, which is a 7-inch touchscreen with an IPS panel. You also get a suction-tipped, extendable mount, and an adhesive-backed glass disc to make your dashboard suction-friendly. You can always use your windshield though if you prefer.

Car and Driver add all the cables you’ll need, including a 12V power adapter, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and an AUX cable. You also get a hook-and-loop cable tie and five adhesive-backed cable clips.

The left edge of the unit has all the ports: 3.5mm AUX output, a 3.5mm AUX input, a USB-C port to connect your phone to, and a USB-A port that’s for thumb drives only.

gps unit close up showing cables inserted into the unit
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

The Intellidash Pro does have internal speakers and microphones, but you’re better off either using Bluetooth or the AUX cable to connect it to your car’s audio. That gives you better quality audio than the internal, which is great for your streaming audio.

It also has the option to set up an FM transmitter to get audio to your car. We only recommend this if you have no other options, as it doesn’t provide as high quality as the other options.

Setup was a breeze, with one wire to the 12V socket being the only one we needed. Our car has Bluetooth, so we used that to connect the Intellidash Pro to our car’s audio, and it worked well.

So, is it any good?

gps mounted on car dashboard
Image: Joe RIce-Jones / KnowTechie

Okay, while this unit does support both CarPlay and Android Auto, CarPlay is the option most people will be picking this up for.

Once paired to the unit, wireless CarPlay automatically connects via Wi-Fi, then to your car’s audio via however you connected it. It’s really how in-dash units should work, with them picking up your phone without any user interaction needed.

Seriously. Take notes legacy automakers, you should all be installing the ability to do wireless CarPlay in all of your vehicles going forward. Wired is fine, I guess, but that still needs the user to find a cable to plug into.

intellidash pro gps mounted to a windshield showing android auto in use
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

On the Android side of things, you have two options. You can use a USB-C cable to connect, or if your phone is running Android 11 or newer, you can use Bluetooth. Wireless Android Auto is great, but being able to keep your phone charged wins out for me, so I used the USB-C cable.

It worked flawlessly with my Pixel 4a, but I know from experience that isn’t always the situation with every Android. It’s hard to build anything to work with every Android handset in existence, so your mileage may vary here.

Android Auto is the best way to use your Android phone while in the car. It really removes all the distractions, and Google Maps is still my favorite navigation app.

intellidash pro unit upside down on a table showing the mounting holes
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

The Intellidash Pro (and presumably the wired-only Intellidash) does have one major issue that detracts from the overall experience. The unit doesn’t appear to have any internal memory to store settings.

Yes, most of the stuff is handled by your smartphone; but things like the brightness of the unit’s screen or the FM transmitter to aren’t kept on reboot. That means every time you turn your engine off, you have to redo any settings the next time.

For a $400 device, it’s a major own goal to not store these small settings changes.

So, should you buy the Intellidash Pro?

intellidash pro on windshield showing apple carplay in use
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

The $400 Intellidash Pro does what it sets out to do. Wireless CarPlay is awesome, connecting to your iPhone even if it’s still in your pocket.

It’s equally good for Android users, bringing your favorite navigation apps onto your dash. If you’ve got an older car without navigation, or a newer one with whatever junk your car manufacturer used, that’s all the incentive you need.

The bonus here is that you don’t have to take your car apart to install an aftermarket unit. Those are all substantially more expensive than the Intellidash Pro, and that’s before paying for installation.

Even the cheapest in-dash unit on Best Buy with Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto from Alpine is $699.99. It’s nearly a grand for one from Kenwood.

Even the Alpine iLX-407 is $500, and that was released in 2017. Crutchfield’s cheapest for both wireless Android Auto and CarPlay is the Jensen CAR710W at $440; that’s before installation and car-specific adapters.

We did find this no-name unit that’s $250ish, but it only supports Mirrorlink for Android, and not full wireless Android Auto.

The only annoyance I have with the unit is the lack of onboard memory. Having to redo settings every time you start the car isn’t fun. If a future version fixes that, I’d have no issues recommending this to anyone.

If you’re after CarPlay or Android Auto, you can get the Intellidash Pro at Amazon or Walmart. Costco has the $349 non-wireless version if you don’t mind another wire.

Editors’ Recommendations:

Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. It’s one of the ways we keep the lights on here. Click here for more. A sample unit was provided for the purpose of this review.

Reader Rating0 Votes
0
The Good
Wired and Wireless CarPlay
Wired and Wireless Android Auto (needs Android 11 for wireless)
Good screen
Many connectivity options
The Bad
No internal memory to store settings
Expensive
Internal speakers are terrible
7.5
Overall

Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek. Hardware guy here at KnowTechie, if it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't) I probably have one around here somewhere. My hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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