Parrot Asteroid Smart review

Can Android revolutionise in-car entertainment?

Parrot Asteroid Smart
Who's a clever bird?

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There's something of an unpolished beauty in the Asteroid Smart. It has the promise of a smartly connected device, powered by an intelligent operating system that lets you stay connected in the car.

But the implementation is still a bit buggy, and the ecosystem of apps is still paltry compared to the app stores for mobile platforms. Admittedly, it's a chicken and egg problem, and one that can only improve as time goes on for Parrot, but still a frustration for a product that costs around a grand.

The good news is that there isn't a single complaint we have about this product that can't be fixed with a firmware update or an incentive for developers to get on board the platform.

The bad news is that both of those things are going to take time, especially given the relative newness of the Asteroid platform.

We Liked

The comprehensive connectivity options on the Asteroid Smart are a welcome addition to any vehicle.

While most new cars these days offer iPod connectivity and Bluetooth hands-free, having the ability to connect multiple phones simultaneously, while switching between SD card, USB storage and a dedicated iPod is great.

The ability to offer regular firmware updates is also welcome.

We Disliked

Apps, apps, our kingdom for more apps. While some enterprising young chaps have worked out how to root the device to give access to the Google Play store, we just wish Parrot would offer more incentives for developers to get on board.

The fact there's no Pandora app for example, which is available in more than 2.5 million cars around the world, is a clear indicator that Parrot could be doing more to get more apps on its platform.

Also frustrating is the bugginess that saw the steering wheel controls deactivate themselves every time the car is switched off following a firmware update. Hopefully that problem gets remedied with the next update.

Final Verdict

But when all is said and done, if you are looking for a smart option for in-car entertainment that allows you to get and stay connected to the internet while driving, this is a decent option.

Sure, you'll pay for the experience and you may find elements slightly underwhelming, but given time, the potential for the Asteroid Smart to grow is huge.

Whether it actually does live up to that potential... well, let's just see how much love Parrot invests in the platform, shall we?

Having spent the past decade editing some of Australia's leading technology publications, Nick's passion for the latest gadgetry is matched only by his love of watching Australia beat England in the rugby.