AA Wireless Android Auto Dongle review: Simply brilliant

The AA Wireless Dongle for Android Auto takes the hassle out of getting the best from your connected car apps.

AA Wireless Android Auto Dongle review: Simply brilliant

I'm lucky enough to get to try out a lot of new cars, which is generally a good thing. However, why so many automakers still try and convince me that their own satellite navigation system is the bees' knees when it invariably isn't is beyond me. Nope, I, like most other sensible folk, tend to get in and connect Android Auto or Apple CarPlay when it comes to maps and knowing where I’m going. For my money, there are few, if any, in-car systems that can beat Apple and Google's offerings at the moment.

For my money, there are few, if any, in-car systems that can beat Apple and Google's offerings at the moment.

AA Wireless Android Auto Dongle review: Simply brilliant

It gets better though. The AAWireless Android Auto Dongle is a dinky little gadget that’s designed to make getting connected and staying that way a breeze. The company created the device to streamline connectivity and let me enjoy everything Android Auto has to offer, without the tedium of plugging in cables, pairing phones and all the rest of it. The setup process could be a bit simpler, but once you’re there, though, it's excellent.

AA Wireless Android Auto Dongle review: Simply brilliant

AAWireless Wireless Android Auto Dongle

The AAWireless Dongle for Android Auto is a nifty little gadget that lets you ditch the cable needed to establish a connection with a smartphone and in-car systems and head units. It’ll work with the vast majority of cell phones and car brands too.

Pros

  • Seamless way to connect Android Auto without cables
  • Supporting app is intuitive and easy to use
  • Works with lots of phones and car makes

Cons

  • So small you could potentially lose it
  • Some fiddling needed during setup process
  • No iPhone version yet

$70 at AAWireless$75 at Amazon

It’s worth checking the company's website to ensure compatibility. The device itself is compact and easy to set up, with the majority of the work being done by a supplementary app, which can also help you keep it up to date by offering over-the-air updates.

Price, specs and availability

The AA Wireless Dongle for Android Auto is available just about everywhere, with Amazon being the most obvious place to look depending on your location. In the US, it costs $75 (about £70 in the UK), which I think is reasonable given the convenience it offers.

AAWireless Wireless Android Auto Dongle

Power Source USB What's Included Dongle, cable, manual Brand AAWireless Processor Dual core Connectivity Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 2.4GHz and 5GHz Dimensions 49 x 49 x 12mm

AA Wireless Android Auto Dongle review: Simply brilliant

Design, look and build materials

Compact, easy to attach, and cute

While there's not a lot to it, I think the design and build of the AAWireless dongle is excellent. It's compact with dimensions of just 9 x 49 x 12mm and weighs next to nothing. There's a decent quality, though short, connecting cord included in the box. This was fine for getting me set up and running though. Aside from a small booklet, that's about it. My only worry is that anyone who's prone to mislaying small things might end up losing it, either in their vehicle or around the house when it's not being used. A minor concern though.

I was also encouraged to update the firmware during installation too, which was done without fuss or bother.

AA Wireless Android Auto Dongle review: Simply brilliant

Setup and installation ease of use

Installation takes minutes to get going

I'd read a few product reviews before getting the AAWireless dongle, and it sounded like the setup process could be problematical. Admittedly, any issues I experienced were probably down to not reading up on potential problems beforehand. There's a small manual included in the box, but this turns out to offer little in the way of instructions. Instead, I was pointed in the direction of the AAWireless.app. There's also the option of scanning the QR code on the back of the booklet.

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Either way, you're taken to the download for the AAWireless app. This is quick, easy and seamless to install itself. I was also encouraged to update the firmware during installation too, which the app handled without fuss or bother. The manufacturer recommends doing this as it means you'll be using the most up-to-date version, which might help the device work with some less well-known brands or head units.

Similarly, before purchasing the AA Wireless dongle, it's well worth checking out the company's website, which allows you to check compatible cars and phones. One point worth noting is that it will not work with Huawei handsets, so if you've got one of those, you'd best check out our Android Auto wireless adaptor guide.

AA Wireless Android Auto Dongle review: Simply brilliant

User-experience and working with the app

Support and troubleshooting

The AAWireless app is pretty cool. It’s all black and easy on the eyes, allowing you to see what you're doing if you're struggling with harsh light inside your car. The software's home page is simple enough too, with four main panes that allow you to select your device, update as needed and pair your phone. There's a help and support tab as well — just in case you need assistance on the go.

So far, it seems to have been working fine. It's worth noting though that the AA Wireless website does have some good support information.

The latter is useful if there are any issues during setup, including a set of graphics that allowed me to troubleshoot if the dongle wasn't functioning correctly. However, the best part is the way the app did most of the work for me. I connected my phone to the AA Wireless dongle via Bluetooth, which then allowed it to connect via Wi-Fi. After that, the device disconnects from Bluetooth and switches to using Wi-Fi instead.

Theoretically, I only need to do this once and each time I get into my car and want to connect, the Wi-Fi will do the hard work and automatically connect to my phone. So far, it seems to have been working fine. It's worth noting the AA Wireless website does have some good support information if you need troubleshooting, with connections dropping out from time to time seeming to be a possible issue with some cars and head units. Of course, there are lots of different vehicle brands and phones out there, so it's only reasonable to expect one or two gremlins from time to time. Keeping the app updated looks like the most obvious thing to do if I run into issues.

Verdict: Is the AAWireless Android Auto Dongle worth it?

I love this gadget, and it feels like good value to me. Not only does it take the annoyances out of connecting to Android Auto while ditching a cable, it lets me tap into my favorite apps. Google Maps is the most obvious one for me, but it's also good for Waze, Spotify and more besides. I’ve been pleased with the setup and performance so far, although it's early days. Nevertheless, there's not really much to go wrong, and the app is good at supporting me and troubleshooting if issues do occur. Overall then, the AA Wireless Android Auto Dongle is very much a success story.

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