Published on September 20th, 2013 | by James Simpson17
Parrot Asteroid Tablet Review – Hands On
With Android and iOS car integration becoming the new big thing, Parrot have beaten most to it with their release of the Parrot Asteroid range, especially the Parrot Asteroid Tablet. Now you can drive, make hands free calls, listen to streaming music, radio, MP3’s and even now check your Facebook status on the move, all without having to buy a new car.
The Parrot Asteroid Tablet seems to be an all in one, out the box Satellite Navigation unit, Bluetooth Hands-Free kit, and also a multimedia device (Nav-Media system). What more could you want inside your car, even better still, this is an aftermarket installation kit, which will fit any vehicle.
Parrot Asteroid Tablet out The Box
The first thing I noticed when receiving the package from Parrot, was how heavy the kit felt (compared to the Parrot MKi rage I was used to handling back in my Halfords days). Upon opening the box, and removing the manuals, I was surprised to see an upgraded amplifier system, which replaces the cheaper “blue box” from the old Parrot MKi models.
The top of the box holds the nicely minimal 5inch touch screen and the touch-sensitive remote control, which can be mounted on your steering wheel, and after a little reading and looking at the parts, can also be mounted on your dashboard (thank god).
Under the packaging holding the screen, is another box which holds all the wires and connectors, which includes an Apple iPod connector (not the slim iPod/iPhone connector, unfortunately), as well as a USB extension cable and a 3.5mm jack lead – which all three allow different choices of streaming music via the Parrot Asteroid Tablet.
Parrot Asteroid Tablet Features
In addition to the main feature of this unit – Running Google’s mobile Android operating system, this opens the Parrot Asteroid Tablet up into bigger features such as scalability for applications to be designed and created to help with driving. This could also save you money, as you wouldn’t need to buy that new satellite navigation unit, or even buy that new stereo with a screen to watch DVD’s while sat in the car park.
The Parrot is controlled by using either its touch screen to navigate through its menus, or even using the wireless remote control unit, placed suitably on your dashboard or steering wheel.
The great thing about the Parrot Asteroid Tablet over its little brother – The Parrot Asteroid Mini, is the 5inch screen, which in my eyes looks good when it’s in your hand, but finding a place to mount this in the vehicle may be tricky.
Another great feature to the Asteroid Tablet is its internet connectivity, in use with either wireless (Wi-Fi), via a USB dongle, or even tethering via your Android or iOS phone.
- Dual mobile connectivity (Connect two phones at once)
- Voice Recognition
- Wifi Connectivity
- Internet tethering via phone or using a USB dongle
- 5-inch screen
- Android Operating System
- Downloadable applications
- Compatible with iPhone and iPod devices
The design of the Parrot Asteroid Tablet is much like any Satellite Navigation unit that is currently out, combined with a flat-screen TV. The Satellite Navigation style does not just stop there, as Parrot provide you with a suction cup mount to mount the screen onto the windscreen of your car, which if I was to be using this long term, wouldn’t be my preferred choice to mount this device.
The outside of the screen is minimal, there are no buttons to press on the bezel of the unit, and has a nice gloss black case, with a minimal Parrot logo on the front.
As the rest of the kit is not really seen, there isn’t much else to discuss here, but the build quality of the whole kit really stands out, especially as each of the main two components is rather heavy and not too bulky.
There certainly isn’t a lack of connectivity functionality with the Asteroid Tablet, with 3 USB slots on the main brain of the unit, which allows you to connect the provided iPod/iPhone cable, a USB extension cable, and one spare USB slot to have either a USB drive connected directly to the box, or just a USB internet dongle. There is also a 3.5mm jack plug, which allows you to connect another provided cable (3.5mm to 3.5mm male jack lead), which will allow you to route all these cables into your preferred choice location (glove box?) and insert your devices to play music into the Parrot Asteroid Tablet.
Connectivity doesn’t just stop there, as there is also an SD card slot on the side of the 5-inch screen, which is mainly to install applications on, but can also be used to store music. And finally, there is Bluetooth, which allows you to connect your phone, not just for making hands free calls, but for also streaming music directly from your Android or iOS device.
Finally, there is also the option for Wi-Fi connectivity directly from the device, now at this moment in time, wouldn’t be too much of a useful function when driving around the UK roads, as to how many service stations or car parks have Wi-Fi access?
The main selling point of this device is the ability to install applications from the Parrot Asteroid Market – Be this a new satellite navigation software, or audio streaming software, to Facebook, and other upcoming applications and video streaming.
With the chance for anyone to develop Android applications, the possibilities are going to be endless with the number of programs you could be running in your vehicle – maybe one day someone will design a ECU diagnostic program for the Parrot Asteroid, which will give you an all in one component including diagnostics directly from one product.
Other applications such as internet and email, allow you to keep in touch with the outside world while on the move, and the use of the browser could also be handy to find local places of interest, or general web browsing (although the screen is a little small for this).
Hands-Free & Voice Control
This is one of the most used features on my current Parrot MKi9200, when making calls, speaking the person’s name out with a push of a button, but the part which I missed the most was searching for that one song I wanted to listen to at the time. This issue has now been resolved with the Parrot Asteroid Tablet, as you can now use voice functions to find that song, find a particular artist, or even that one album you really need to listen to.
- Android Operating System
- Installable Applications
- Decent sound quality
- A little too big to be a permanent fixture?
- Steering wheel mount (although dashboard mount is provided)
Overall, the unit is a great bit of kit, which would easily replace the current hands-free kit, and satellite navigation combo you probably already own. This is also excellent for those with older cars which do not come with satellite navigation and hands-free kits built-in.
Finally, the Parrot Asteroid Tablet costs around £300 (at time of review), and is available from many stores.
Parrot Asteroid Tablet Score
Summary: Expensive, but worth the buy to have this many functions accessible within one unit directly in your car.