After going through at three USB-C cables in the past 6 months, the prospect of wireless Android Auto was looking very attractive. Unfortunately spending thousands of dollars to upgrade and install a compatible wireless Android Auto head unit isn’t an option. Fortunately, there’s a crowd-funded campaign for that in the form of AA Wireless on IndieGoGo and the developers have been kind enough to send one over for review.
What is AA Wireless? Well, it’s fairly simple. It’s a way to connect your phone to Android Auto on your car stereo, without the need to plug in a cable to your phone.
The developers achieve this by using a dongle that remains connected to your car, and facilitates a wireless connection to Android Auto from your phone any time you step in the vehicle.
The hardware is simple, and everything you need to connect it to your Android Auto head unit in your car is included in the box.
You get the AA Wireless unit itself, a plastic box measuring just under 2” diagonally, which has a USB-C port and a reset button, and a USB-A to USB-C cable for connecting it to your car.
The box is small enough to be tucked out of the way in your car once connected. It’s a fairly plain black box with a simple AA logo inscribed on the top and on the rear there’s a USB-C port, Reset button and LED which indicates its current state – Booting/pairing (Green/Flashing Green) or connected (Blue).
The USB-C cable is braided and has a decent thickness to it which makes it seem it will last a fair while and if you’re not constantly connecting/disconnecting it, it should last a fair while.
There’s a massive QR code on the front of the box which will take you to the Google Play store to download the configuration app – AA Wireless. From there, open the app, and follow the bouncing ball. You will obviously need access to your car to perform the setup, but it’s a very simple process.
You’ll need to enable Wireless Android Auto in your phone settings, which you can do simply by hitting the ‘Android Auto Settings’ button in the app – or simply search ‘Android Auto’ in your settings menu.
Using the AA Wireless dongle is stupidly simple. Once you run through the setup you tuck it away, out of sight because don’t need to do anything next time you get in the car. All you need to do is get in the car and turn the key then the AA Wireless unit will automatically connect and start playing audio, flashing up Maps navigation etc.
It takes around 30-40 seconds for Android Auto to fire up with the wireless dongle and register as connected on the head unit. This slight delay never concerns me as it loads up as I’m reversing out of the driveway, and by the time we’re moving it’s ready to go.
Even though there’s a dongle between you and your phone, there’s no latency, or at least no more than you’d expect operating Android Auto when connected directly to your phone.
The Wireless Android Auto also has the benefit of letting me tap & pay at the drive-thru without having to disconnect Android Auto – an option I didn’t have with the normal wired Android Auto setup.
The app is mostly there for connecting and passing data, but there are a bunch of settings within the AA Wireless app to help troubleshoot issues if you find any. I never used because it just worked which should be the case for the majority of users, but there are some troubleshooting tips which will guide you through where to go in the app if you DO experience any issues on the AA Wireless website.
The only ‘rough’ part of AA Wireless is with multiple users. You can pair a number of devices to the AA Wireless unit, and it simply pairs to the last device it connected to.
My wife and I often use each others car, so occasionally she’ll be the last one connected when we go somewhere. It’s easy to switch though, simply have the person connected turn off Bluetooth and your phone should connect. They can turn Bluetooth on again once you’re connected.
Should you buy it?
Yes. I’ve already ordered a second for my wife’s car.
Android Auto is great, but the wired component isn’t ideal. It’s not possible to simply swap head units to a Wireless Android Auto unit in a lot of cars, so this is absolutely the best option. It saves you wear and tear on cables, lets you tap & pay in the drive-thru and well, it just works, which is something we all want.