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      01-01-2020, 07:02 PM   #1
Tangent
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First impressions: Andream Android 9.0 10.25" display

A few weeks ago I ordered THIS iDrive screen replacement (8-core option) after researching several options to get Android Auto in my M4. It seemed like most were either very expensive or didn't work with the NBT EVO. This is a bit more than just an interface to get Android Auto but so far I'm very happy with it.

Installation:

This ships with no instructions whatsoever so you'll be searching YouTube and making stuff up as you go. I mostly used THIS video as a guide but his version must be the non-EVO NBT which means it doesn't use the extra box mine did. The connections on the device itself are pretty self-explanatory since they only plug in one possible way in one possible port. The only thing to look out for are making sure you don't forget any and that you transfer an optical connection - if you have it - from the factory harness to the adapter. A quick watch of THIS video on removing the glove box gave me access to plenty of room to hide the extra box mine has away so after a few minutes of figuring out how to fit 10 pounds of electronics and wiring harness in a 5 pound space I went that route and had plenty of room. The first video mentioned some cars needing to run a cable to the aux input and others don't but it turns out mine did. Luckily I already had a 3.5mm to RCA cable that I could use for that. Other versions like shown in the vid seem to use 3.5mm to 3.5mm so it must depend on the exact version. Start to finish it took me about 4 hours to get it installed.

Impressions:

I've only used this sitting in my car in the garage but so far I'm very happy with it. If you want a better display this would be worth the price alone since you get a nice bright 10.25" display to replace the factory 8.8" one. The full Android OS running on it can be seen as just a bonus. The Android part of it runs on a UI that can be made to look like your choice of the most recent versions of the iDrive; I left mine on the default of the most current one.

Switching from your default iDrive to Android is seamless. When you go into reverse it immediately switches to the backup camera on its own. The only delay you'll ever notice is if you left the display on the Android interface when you shut it off; in that case it takes about 20-30 seconds to start up instead of how the iDrive is usually almost instantly on.

This model comes with an adapter so you can plug in a 4G sim card for data but at the moment I just have it connecting to a hotspot on my phone. The sim adapter is at the end of a long enough cable that you can mount it in an easy to access location which is nice.

So far the only complaints I have are that it won't connect to any bluetooth device except for your phone so you can't connect it to a BT OBD2 adapter at this time for example. Also the display seems to cut a tiny bit off the bottom of the display; not enough so you'd normally notice but it's there. Getting certain phone apps to work on it is a bit of a challenge as well. One for example pops up a permissions request when I open it for the first time but since the app seems to be made with portrait mode in mind I can't actually get to the "allow" button.

Sound quality is okay but certainly not awesome; it's kind of muddy IMO. I'm far from an audiophile so if you are you might have much bigger complaints. Since you can switch right back to the regular iDrive though you can still stream from your phone if it bothers you.
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      01-02-2020, 08:47 AM   #2
materialdistractions
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Thanks for the first impressions. On the Android side, have you used Android Auto or any navigation software such as Google Maps or Waze? How well did it work? Did you install the separate GPS receiver? From my understanding, you need to install a separate mic for the Android side. Did you do this and if so, what did you think of the call sound quality?

That's unfortunate that a portion of the bottom of the display is cut off. Did you try using different a different "car type" in the unit's setup screen to see if that made any difference?
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      01-02-2020, 10:40 AM   #3
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Android Auto, Waze, Google Maps all work perfectly. You can select which one of those opens when you press the Navigation option on screen or the NAV button on the iDrive controller and I set mine to Waze which worked perfectly this morning. It comes with a small GPS receiver so I just stuck that under the dash and it gets a nice solid lock so no issues there. I've read that some people got a splitter for the existing GPS antenna but why bother if it comes with its own? No extra mic needed, it integrates with the existing car mics perfectly as well. I haven't tested phone call quality yet though I have read that some people have odd issues in which case I'll simply have my phone use the iDrive connection for phone calls.

I tried a different car type for the display but it turns out that's only for the iDrive display which is perfect with nothing cut off; it's just the Android display that is which is weird. It's only a tiny bit cutoff so if I never figure it out I won't be bothered. For example when a keyboard is up on screen you can still see the "." on that key but it's at the very bottom of the screen instead of having the blank space of that key showing. I'll get some pics in the next couple of days to put up.

Last edited by Tangent; 01-02-2020 at 05:05 PM.. Reason: fix formatting
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      01-06-2020, 02:46 PM   #4
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Nice. Could you post some pictures? Or even better, a video showing switching between messing around in the iDrive, and opening up Waze, for example.

How is audio routed, can you have your phone BT to the car (calls, music)?

Does it do Android Auto from a phone?
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      01-06-2020, 05:13 PM   #5
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THIS video will give you a much more in-depth review of the features and a demo of how it works than I could do right now. He only shows it opening the default nav instead of Waze, but I can tell you it opens pretty close to as quickly as it does on my Pixel 2 XL. Switching between iDrive and Android is as good as instant.

I'm not sure about Android Auto from the phone because I just installed AA on the device directly instead. There's a screen mirroring app built-in so you could have AA running on your phone and displayed on it if you wanted that.

The audio in my case is routed through the armrest aux input but the device itself handles switching inputs to and from aux and back to your satellite/am/fm radio or onboard music seamlessly.

I haven't tested phone calls with it yet but you have the choice of having your phone use either this device or the car handle calls. I haven't streamed any audio from my phone either because it's got all the apps I use onboard and it's simpler to work with it instead of the phone. I've tweaked the EQ settings enough that I'm fine with the quality but I know I'm not the most picky with that. If you prefer to keep streaming from your phone to the iDrive that's not interfered with at all.
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      01-08-2020, 08:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tangent View Post
THIS video will give you a much more in-depth review of the features and a demo of how it works than I could do right now. He only shows it opening the default nav instead of Waze, but I can tell you it opens pretty close to as quickly as it does on my Pixel 2 XL. Switching between iDrive and Android is as good as instant.

I'm not sure about Android Auto from the phone because I just installed AA on the device directly instead. There's a screen mirroring app built-in so you could have AA running on your phone and displayed on it if you wanted that.

The audio in my case is routed through the armrest aux input but the device itself handles switching inputs to and from aux and back to your satellite/am/fm radio or onboard music seamlessly.

I haven't tested phone calls with it yet but you have the choice of having your phone use either this device or the car handle calls. I haven't streamed any audio from my phone either because it's got all the apps I use onboard and it's simpler to work with it instead of the phone. I've tweaked the EQ settings enough that I'm fine with the quality but I know I'm not the most picky with that. If you prefer to keep streaming from your phone to the iDrive that's not interfered with at all.
Thank you for the link! That is an awesome unit. It says OBD2 is not supported over Bluetooth, I wonder why that is?

Does that mean you'll have to use a WiFi OBD adapter? I guess that would work.
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      01-09-2020, 12:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fackamato View Post
Thank you for the link! That is an awesome unit. It says OBD2 is not supported over Bluetooth, I wonder why that is?

Does that mean you'll have to use a WiFi OBD adapter? I guess that would work.
Exactly, for some reason you don't have access to the default Android Bluetooth settings, you can only pair phones through the main menu. I'm currently trying a few alternatives to Carly since it's BT only for the Android version. I know that Torque works with WiFi adapters and I'll be testing BimmerCode, ProTool, and whatever else I can find with my Thor WiFi OBD2 adapter this weekend.
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      01-09-2020, 05:27 PM   #8
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Just thought of another question since you mentioned that you installed Android Auto directly on the unit. When using the Android Auto navigation, either Google Maps or Waze, are you also receiving traffic data? If so, is your phone tethered to the unit? I'm looking for a traffic data solution when my BMW assist plan expires soon.
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      01-09-2020, 06:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by materialdistractions View Post
Just thought of another question since you mentioned that you installed Android Auto directly on the unit. When using the Android Auto navigation, either Google Maps or Waze, are you also receiving traffic data? If so, is your phone tethered to the unit? I'm looking for a traffic data solution when my BMW assist plan expires soon.
Yup, it's all getting live data via my phone's hotspot so it's exactly as functional as a phone is. I tried using the built-in 4G but the antenna is a crappy one that's part of the split box that's buried under the dash so the reception sucks. I just cancelled the data-only sim I'd gotten to try using the onboard 4G. Apparently you can plug in a remote antenna but I really don't feel like removing my glovebox again and opening the box to do that when turning on my hotspot is so easy. Maybe someday I'll revisit that but the juice just isn't worth the squeeze right now...
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      01-10-2020, 12:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tangent View Post
Yup, it's all getting live data via my phone's hotspot so it's exactly as functional as a phone is. I tried using the built-in 4G but the antenna is a crappy one that's part of the split box that's buried under the dash so the reception sucks. I just cancelled the data-only sim I'd gotten to try using the onboard 4G. Apparently you can plug in a remote antenna but I really don't feel like removing my glovebox again and opening the box to do that when turning on my hotspot is so easy. Maybe someday I'll revisit that but the juice just isn't worth the squeeze right now...
Got a link for that remote 4G antenna?
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      01-10-2020, 01:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fackamato View Post
Got a link for that remote 4G antenna?
Since I decided against pulling the box back out and opening it up I have no idea what kind of connector it uses or if they're a standard type... If I was gonna gamble and order one before checking I'd go with THIS one since it's got two connector options, a nice long cable, and is a perfect design to mount somewhere unobtrusively.
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      01-21-2020, 01:31 PM   #12
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Would you know if this will work as a screen upgrade for the ID4 8.8" screen?
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      01-21-2020, 02:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac419 View Post
Would you know if this will work as a screen upgrade for the ID4 8.8" screen?
Yes, though I think that version doesn't have the split box mine does. That's all behind the scenes though; the actual function and look is identical.
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      01-30-2020, 05:27 PM   #14
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I fitted one to my M4 recently overall very happy with it although I have found that sometimes when I start the car the android part does not boot up? Not all the time but now and then.

Maybe software?
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      01-30-2020, 05:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantome46 View Post
I fitted one to my M4 recently overall very happy with it although I have found that sometimes when I start the car the android part does not boot up? Not all the time but now and then.

Maybe software?
How do you get it to boot if it doesn't work on the first car startup? Kill the ignition and try again?
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