My wife and I were on the hunt for a wireless android auto dongle, but with the global chip shortage, it seemed impossible to find the right one. That was until we discovered the Motorola MA1. Despite not being manufactured by Motorola, it works great and was promoted by Google. After pre-ordering it, we received the dongle in just four days from Amazon, although we had to use a forwarding service as it’s currently only available in the US.
Design and packaging
The box packaging is fairly basic. There’s nothing in the box, apart from the device, an instruction manual, and a sticky pad which you can use to fix the device at a spot in your car.
The whole idea behind this device is to just hook it to your USB port and then you never have to look at it again. You just turn on your car and it automatically connects to your phone and turns on Android Auto.
The device is black plastic with shiny on the front side. It has a non-removable USB cable with a USB A connector. There’s a single button that is used for pairing but I didn’t even need to press it for the initial pairing.
To get started with the MA1 is a breeze. All you need to ensure is that your phone has been paired with your car with a cable. After that just swap the cable with the MA1 cable and then pair the device on your phone. Once pairing is done, the device starts blinking green and your phone will automatically make a direct WiFi connection to the MA1 and the Android Auto will start on your head unit wirelessly.
After the initial pairing, which took around 15-20 seconds, the Motorola MA1 connects to my S21 Ultra within 10 seconds. I haven’t used the side button to switch between phones yet as it’s not needed.
The device has been reliable with no disconnections, and I no longer need to change cables frequently like I did with Android Auto. However, the battery life could be better. Wireless Android Auto quickly drains your phone’s battery, so for long trips, it’s better to plug in directly to the USB.
Should you but it to or not?
Absolutely! To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for the MA1 since Android Auto can be quite buggy, but it exceeded my expectations. The freedom of not having to plug in your phone for short drives is a real game-changer. At $89, it’s a bit pricey, but it’s on par with other Android Auto devices, and the fact that it’s Google-certified is a plus.
If you’re someone who takes a lot of short trips and dislikes cords, this is a great purchase. However, if your car doesn’t support Android Auto, or if your phone’s battery is already struggling, I’d advise against it.