Review: Carluex Air wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto adaptor
reviewed 2 May 2024 by David Ross






Wireless adaptor for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Allows you to also stream YouTube and Netflix in car

Priced at £140

What is it?

It may look like some sort of posh USB stick, but the Carluex Air is in fact a wireless adaptor for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. So if your car has those installed but requires a wired connection, this is an ideal bit of kit for you. It saves time finding your phone and messing with wires everytime you get in the car. 

It works with most car makes and models with built-in wired CarPlay from 2016 onwards and is compatible with iPhones from 5 onwards and Android phones running 6.0 or higher. The one thing to note is that it doesn't work with BMW models, due to their software. If you have a BMW, Carluex sells a specific adaptor for £348.

The unit itself is actually a very small Android device and can be used on its own without connecting to your phone. So you can use Android apps for navigation and music for example, all shown on your screen.

In the box you get the Carluex unit, a USB cable to connect it and a USB-C adaptor should your car only have USB-C ports. There's also a quick start guide but no detailed instructions. There is however a QR code that directs you to one-on-one customer service via Whatsapp.

What's it like?

We tested the Carluex Air in a 2024 BYD Atto 3, one of the few new cars that still requires a cable to run Apple CarPlay. Setting up is straightforward, you simple connect to the USB port in the car, wait a few seconds and it appears on the screen. The BYD comes with a huge central touchscreen, which is useful to showcase the Carluex Air, although it also works well on smaller screens and will automatically resize accordingly.

Once connected, it brings up the Carluex Air screen - essentially turning your car screen into a tablet in its own right. It comes pre-loaded with Netflix, Spotify and YouTube. We managed to connect our phone to it straight away, the same way you do to wireless Apple CarPlay, just using the Carluex Air connection instead.

That's enough to get Apple CarPlay working and using our (admittedly ageing) iPhone 11 Pro it worked as well as any in-built wireless system we've used. The connection was stable with no disconnections in the time we tested it, while there was no lag either.

What also impressed was the speed and lack of lag. We've tried other adaptors in the past and found (among other issues) that there was a delay but there are no such problems with the Carluex Air. Again, it's pretty much as good as an in-built system.

It is quite odd that the apps are so big with only 8 showing per screen, meaning there was a fair bit of swiping to go between Spotify and Audible for example. We couldn't find a way to change this, but it's only a very minor criticism.

But there's more to the Carluex Air than just Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also has its own apps and you can download more from the Play Store. If you want to install new things or update the sofware you will need an internet connection. We're using our phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot to test it here.

Netflix and YouTube are pre-installed and with a decent bit of 4G they actually work well so we were able to watch both without any issues. What surprised us is that you can still watch these once the car is moving. Which in the UK means you are breaking the law. We would certainly strongly advise you don't do this as aside from the huge safety issues, trying the "only my passenger was watching" won't wash as an excuse with the law.

You can of course use this when parked up, so it's handy if you want to keep the kids entertained while waiting, although bear in mind the amount of data it will be using. We just think it would be safer if this function was disabled once the car is moving.

Thanks to the fact the Carluex Air adaptor is only about the size of a car key, it's pretty easy to tuck away somewhere. What would be useful is a grippy rubber base to stop it sliding around, as it did in our car. The base supposedly has a magnet apparently but we couldn't get it to stick to anything metal and given most car interiors are all plastic, it would seem pointless anyway.

Overall, we've been very impressed by the Carluex Air and it's by far the best wireless adaptor we've tried out. In several weeks of testing we've not had any issues and have been able to enjoy Apple CarPlay guaranteed everytime we've got in the car. For us that's a great result.

Should I buy one?

The Carluex Air isn't the cheapest wireless adaptor for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can pick something up from around £50, but having tried cheaper adaptors in the past, the Carluex Air is a much better bit of kit. That's mainly down to the reliable and consistent connection and the fact this simply just works. Once set up in our car we never had to do anything else - our phone paired everytime and we had Apple CarPlay on the screen within seconds. 

The sound quality is excellent too - it's pretty much on par with the wired connection. And there's no lag either, something which we've experienced with cheaper adaptors. So in that respect we think the Carluex is worth the money and an excellent investment if you want a hassle free and reliable wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connection. You can buy one direct from Carluex here.

Pros Reliable wireless connection Very easy to set up Small and easy to tuck away
Cons There are cheaper adaptors around Ability to watch videos on the move needs to be disabled


Operating system: Android 9

Processor: MTK Processor

Pre-installed apps: Netflix, Youtube, Chrome, Google Maps

Compatibility: Designed for cars equipped with built-in wired CarPlay from 2016-2024. Not compatible with BMW models.

Supports: Apple iPhone from 5 or higher and Android running 6.0 or higher.

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