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Product Review – CPLAY2air Wireless Apple iPhone interface.

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Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can make a big difference to our lives. The CPLAY2air is one of those devices.

One of the best innovations to car audio in recent years has been the introduction of Apple Car Play. For those of you who are not quite up with the times, Apple Car Play is a smarter, safer way to use your iPhone while you drive. You can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and enjoy your favourite music however, rather than relying on your car’s infotainment system to do the work with proprietary applications, Apple Car Play effectively mirrors the apps you already have on your iPhone.

The system has a number of advantages. Firstly, you know it will work seamlessly with your iPhone and all your applications. No more dodgy connections or unsupported car audio units. Secondly, the Apple Car Play is virtually future-proof. The software is upgraded as you update the applications on your iPhone so it should continue to work as long as Apple supports the platform. For these reasons, pretty much all new vehicles released to the market today have Apple Car Play as standard.

To use the system, you need to connect your phone to the USB port on your car’s infotainment system and this is where Apple Car Play is probably not as polished as you would think. In many cases, you need to have a cord to connect the phone to the car’s infotainment unit and this can be a little untidy, not to mention these cords have a tendency to break and wear out. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a wireless connection?

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Now you can. CPLAY2air is a small dongle-type device that you plug permanently into your car’s infotainment system. It uses a Bluetooth connection to your iPhone to seamlessly connect the two devices together.

Setup couldn’t be easier. In fact, it would be one of the most simple Bluetooth installations I’ve ever done.

Given my old 200 series is lacking Apple Car Play, I had to use my inlaw’s Toyota Camry to test the system. As soon as I plugged the CPLAY2air into the car’s USB port, the infotainment system recognised the CPLAY2air device immediately and was awaiting the connection of the phone. I then went into the iPhone’s Bluetooth setup, paired it to the CPLAY2air and that was it. Job done. All my navigation, hands-free phone, and music were immediately available on the Toyota head unit. It could not be easier to use.

Once the connection is done, the dongle can be left in situ in the console or you could use a little double-sided tape and mount it semi-permanently in a more convenient location.

Since installing the CPLAY2air, we have tested the auto-reconnect several times and it has worked consistently. As soon as you turn the vehicle on and activate the infotainment unit, the connection is re-established and Apple Car Play activated. Also worth noting is CPLAY2air has a passthrough USB connector should you need to use a wired connection to recharge your iPhone.

The CPLAY2air normally retails for $218.95 however it is currently on special for $135.95. Given the little bit of extra convenience it offers, I reckon this is a pretty good deal. For more information or to purchase, visit www.cplay2air.com

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