Parrot Asteroid Smart
Just picked one of these up a couple weeks ago and installed it in my 07 STI. So far I am enjoying it a lot and figured I would share my thoughts so far. Anyone else out there have one yet? (sorry if this is a bit long-winded)
I was originally going to build a small "carputer" for my STI but decided to jump on this instead since it does everything I want it to and it would have taken a while to source all the parts and build something similar to this anyway.
The headunit is completely touchscreen aside from the power button. This worried me a little at first since I am a bit anti-touchscreen for the most part. But after using it for a few days, I got used to it pretty quickly and overall it's something I can live with. The touch option buttons are very large and easy to read and makes navigating around on the unit very easy. The volume adjustment is interesting as well. When you're listening to music you can flick your finger up or down anywhere on the screen to control the volume level or flick left to right to change tracks quickly. The Smart had no problem picking up and indexing my 64GB thumb drive (that's almost completely full of music).
The one thing I like a lot about the Smart is the ability to download Android apps directly to it via the internet (or an SD card). Parrot has it's own "asteroid store" that you get the apps from. There aren't many apps in their store yet but it seems like they are working on getting more ported to it all the time. They just added the VLC player to their store last week which is pretty great even though I haven't messed with it yet. You can sideload other Android apps too but it seems like most unsupported apps don't work very well on the Smart. I haven't had time to mess around with this yet but I will be trying it myself soon.
This brings up one of my other likes about the Smart. Internet connectivity. You can either use a USB dongle plugged into the back of the unit or tether your phone to it to give it an internet connection. Then you can download apps, updated apps, use apps that need an internet connection like Spotify, or browse the internet. If you have a phone that is jailbroken or rooted and you can tether with it without issues, you will really enjoy this part
Bluetooth works fine pairing up with my Note2 and making and receiving calls. You can also listen to an audio source from your phone through the Smart via Bluetooth which works well too.
There are a few things I don't care for with the Smart, however, and some things that people might not like about this unit.
-The built in GPS app leaves a lot to be desired. There's other GPS apps you can download but some cost money.
-Even though I am not really a huge audiophile, the sound quality does leave quite a bit to be desired as well. I will most likely add a small amplifier for the door speakers later on but it's not really a huge deal to me. This could be a dealbreaker for a lot of people though.
-When you turn the car on and the unit boots up, it won't start playing your last song immediately from where you last left off. You have to open the audio program up for it to start playing again. Not a huge deal, but still annoying.
-Boot up time. It hasn't bothered me yet but some people complain about this thing taking forever to boot up. To help with this, the Smart has a shock sensor inside that senses when you close the door so it actually starts pre-booting before you turn the key. So it's pretty much ready to go about 10 seconds or so after I turn the car on. We do live in an instant gratification society so I can see why some people do complain about this but it's really not a huge issue IMO.
-No optical drive. Personally, I haven't messed with CDs in the car for the last 6 or so years and haven't looked back. Some people might still use them though.
-Fully touchscreen. If I can get used to it, almost anyone can. But, I can see why this can be viewed as a big con in the car because of possibly having to take your eyes off the road more often.
I started messing around with sideloading other apps to the unit. So far I have tried Waze, Slacker Radio, Pandora, Google Navigation, and Flixster. I was surprised to see all these apps work pretty well on the Smart without too many issues. With that said, the apps don't work perfect. For example, if you don't quit Slacker from its menu and just hit the home button to exit the program, your other audio programs won't work correctly. Also. if you have Waze open you can't control the audio volume at all. It is nice to be able to try out all kinds of other Android apps on this thing and hopefully compatibility gets better with future updates for the Smart.
Here's a pic of when I was installing this thing: