Many cars are getting infotainment systems with touch screens. Manufacturers have realised how important it is to let you bring your digital world with you, and it is now a major factor in whether or not to buy a car. Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai are the first to add Android Auto, and buyers should benefit from the growing competition.
But if you don’t want to buy the most expensive trim just for Android Auto, here’s a quick and easy workaround. Check out the PIONIER AVH-X8890BT. It’s one of the first aftermarket units that you can put in any car with a double-din slot that supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
But at about Rs. 40,000, I don’t think this is the best option for people who are trying to save money. So, here’s what you can do to have a cheaper way to enjoy everything Android has to offer in your car.
1. Android Phone (~Rs. 10,000)
As technology improves, good phones get cheaper and cheap phones get better. With a budget of more than Rs. 10,000, it’s hard to go wrong these days. Most likely, you already love and use every day an Android phone. If it has Android 6 Marshmallow or a newer version of the operating system, you should be good to go.
Google has updated the Android Auto app on the PlayStore so that you can run it on your phone. Now, a bigger screen is better because it gives you more room to touch and tap on apps. Any size bigger than 5 inches is a good choice.
Check out a list of Android phones that have:
Screen size>5 inch
RAM > 2GB
More than 3000mAh
Price: Rs. 8,000 to Rs.
2. Phone Mount (~Rs. 300 400)
You can use any simple phone mount, but I like magnetic ones because they are easy to put on and take off.
Portronics Pivot Magnetic Mount is the one I chose.
Because the Android Auto shows cards in a vertical layout, it’s better to have a mount that you can turn to have in portrait mode. That’s the best way to use the space on the screen.
3. Car Charger (~Rs. 300 1,200)
See if you can find a charger that has two USB ports. That will let you charge both the phone and the speaker at the same time.
Click here to see a list of cars with two USB ports.
The Amazon Basics USB Charger is my choice.
4. Bluetooth Speaker For Music (~Rs. 4,000 20,000)
A Bluetooth speaker will keep you company in traffic jams in the city and on long drives on the highway. Even small speakers have loud sound these days. Some of the better options have bass that is bigger than their size. And because it’s small and light, you can take it with you wherever you go.
Click here to see what you can do.
My Pick: Logitech X300 (Budget) JBL Flip 3 (Mid range) Bose Soundlink Mini II (High end)
Make sure to put the speaker somewhere where it won’t be surrounded by other things that could make an echo. I keep my Logitech Mini Boombox under the hand brake lever, and the cable reaches there without any problems.
5. Bluetooth Speaker For Calls (~Rs. 2,000 5,000)
Even if your music speaker has a microphone, its main purpose is to give you clear sound. It’s not good at picking up voices from far away. Once you try yelling into the speaker while driving, you’ll figure that out. So, you need a special device that can record clear sound from a long way away. Even more so since there will be noise from the road and the engine while you’re driving.
The clip that comes with the Jabra Drive can be put on the sun visor. But I like to lock it about where my seatbelt comes out of the B-pillar. That’s where it’s closer to my mouth, so I don’t have to raise my voice when I talk.
Jabra Drive is my choice.
Set the preferences in the Bluetooth pairing settings to get calls on the Jabra and music on the JBL Flip. Calls should go to the speakerphone, and media should go to the loudspeaker.
Total Android Auto Setup Cost
If you already have an Android phone, take that off the total cost and you’ll see that it’s a lot less. The good news is that you can take your setup with you anywhere. So you can also put this in the next car you buy. Total Paisa Vasool!!