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Old 10-15-2012, 11:12 PM   #1
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Android Head Unit Battle: Adayo AN6B01 vs Ca-Fi 621000

So, as many of you know, I've had the privilege to put two of the top tier Android head units through their paces. I've had some pretty interesting results.

First off, I will preface this by saying that I've been an audio enthusiast for a long time. I've run practically everything including Kenwoods, Pioneers, Alpines, and even a couple CarPCs. After it was all said and done, there is no reason not to seriously consider an Android head unit. I won't even consider the other options any more. Not until they seriously up their game.

Anyway, back on track with the goodies. I've already written an extensive review of the Adayo unit here. So you'll find a lot of the same screen shots for the comparison here.

Packaging/Included Accessories

Sorry I didn't really take pictures of this stuff. The Adayo was installed at the shop, whereas I installed the Ca-Fi myself. Packaging for the two is pretty identical. They both come packaged in a box with the radio supported in fitted foam and any wires/accessories in a plastic bag. Both came with WiFi adapters.

Adayo

The Adayo came with a couple of different trim pieces as well as a remote control. The Ca-Fi didn't. Not that it matters for us, since the trim pieces aren't used. Whether or not you use a remote would determine if this is an advantage or not. For me, I didn't use it.

Ca-Fi

The only unique thing the Ca-Fi came with was a mini usb to regular size usb cable for use on the front face. The quality of the connectors definitely goes to the Ca-Fi. Everything is modular and just has a better overall look/feel.

Winner: Tie. One offers more accessories, the other offers better quality parts.

Connections/Expandability

Both units feature a plethora of connections. They both feature your typical 5.1 RCA's, backup camera in, composite in and outs, USB, SD, iPod cable, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

Adayo

The Adayo features 2 USB cords out of the back of the unit in addition to a full size USB on the front. In contrast, the Ca-Fi only features 1 USB cord out of the back (which CAN be split with a hub). The front of the Ca-Fi unit features a mini USB port. While they do supply a mini to full USB cord, I prefer less cords coming out of my dash. The Adayo also features a FULL size SD card slot in the front of the unit.

Ca-Fi

The Ca-Fi unit runs a custom iPod cable out of the back of the unit. While I don't own any Apple products, this temps me to pick up a nice big iPod classic, shove my entire 90GB collection on it, and stick it in the glove box... never to be seen. The Ca-Fi also features 2 microSD card slots in the front of the unit. One is labelled UPDATE and the other is labelled MEDIA. I have a 32GB stuffed in the media slot. One other neat feature that this unit has is the ability to add a digital tv tuner. You can essentially add the tuner/antenna and get local over the air channels. Never miss a football game!

Winner: Adayo, just barely though. The fact that it has more native full size USB slots and a full size SD card slot available makes me give it the nod here.

Hardware

Both of the units feature a 1Ghz processor, 6.2" 800x480 touch screen, DVD slot, Home/Menu/Back buttons and volume knob. But that's it for similarities.

Adayo



The Adayo offers a better (and bigger) volume knob. The touch screen is a single touch resistive type. Even though it's resistive, it's a very good resistive screen. You don't have to mash the screen to register a click. It comes with 256MB of RAM and 2GB of onboard storage.

Ca-Fi



The Ca-Fi has a few more buttons to play with. In addition to the Home/Back/Menu and volume knob, it has FM (Radio App), Navi (Navigation App), App (App Drawer), Set (Settings) and SRC (Source Cycler) buttons and an additional Tuning/Seeking knob. It's touch screen is a multitouch capacitive type. It has 512MB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage.

Winner: Ca-Fi. This was easy. The fact that it has hardware buttons to navigate through the basic functions of a car stereo is a HUGE win here. The tuning knob is also a great feature that eliminates the need to repeated tap the screen to skip tracks/fm stations. It also functions while using other apps, so you don't need to go back into music/radio to skip a track or advance the frequency band. Simply awesome.

Software/Interface

Both units feature your basic set of apps for Music, Radio, Video Player, DvD player, Market, Internet, Sound Settings, Video Zone Out, Gallery, and Gmail. For the purpose of this review, I'll break this down into the separate typical stereo functions (that I could use). The Adayo comes with Froyo (Android 2.2) while the Ca-Fi comes with Gingerbread (Android 2.3)

Launcher

Adayo




The Adayo has a mostly stock android feel with the exception of a launcher bar at the bottom of the homescreen. You can scroll the bar left to right, and add shortcuts of your own, but it's somewhat clunky in that regard. Because this bar is persistent, your icon/widget grid is limited to 5x2. Scrolling through homescreens and pages is very smooth, even with a live wallpaper and music playing.

Ca-Fi




The Ca-Fi doesn't have a stock launcher bar, and features its own custom bar along the left hand side. The icons on here are the basic functions of the unit and are static. There is no customization (or at least, not yet). Scrolling side to side is not as fluid as the Adayo, but still very acceptable. This launcher makes more efficient use of the space and thus offers a 5x3 grid for your own customizing.

FM Radio

Adayo



I feel as though the FM Radio app is a bit more attractive and I dig the retro feel to it. The saved stations are laid across the top and basic function across the bottom.

Ca-Fi




The Ca-Fi lays the presets along the left hand side with basic functions across the bottom. It's not the most attractive design, but it's not ugly and functions pretty well.

Music

Adayo



The Adayo music app is very simplistic. Sometimes too simplistic. It took me a while to realize how to access the full list of my music. Regardless, it functions well.

Ca-Fi




The Ca-Fi unit has a much nicer music app. It features everything on one screen. There list of songs/albums/genres/artists is on the left (depending on which is selected). On the right is a sub list (if necessary), but once a playlist is determined, it changes to album art and visualization (which btw runs off the actual music output and not a predefined animation).

Sound Settings

Adayo




The Adayo doesn't have much in terms of band equalization. It's cut down to Bass, Mid, and Treble. It does, however, have frequency filters for high, mid and low... Something the Ca-Fi doesn't have. Basic positioning and subwoofer gain are available. You can set the position by clicking anywhere on the graphic or using the arrows.

Ca-Fi




The Ca-Fi doesn't have filters, but DOES have a full 15 band equalizer. You can adjust any of the bands, but it will slope the ones around them. On the second page, you have subwoofer gain and position control as well as a loudness slider.

Navigation

Adayo




The Adayo comes packaged with iGo Primo... an awesome GPS app. It's full offline navigation and worked flawlessly and smooth for the few times I had to use it.

Ca-Fi



The Ca-Fi didn't come with any offline navigation software. It's disappointing. Additionally, the only downloadable software on the play store was Be-On-Road. However, I managed to force install CoPilot, because Android! haha. It was relatively simple, but I fear the less technically inclined wouldn't be able to. That's not to say Be-On-Road is bad. I tested it a couple times and it worked fine (sounded good too), but I really like CoPilot... and it's on sale for 9.99 right now.

Internet

Adayo

The Adayo comes with a stock browser, and it works well. Because you can't zoom in and out, the scaling on it is a bit... large. I'm not sure how often you're going to need to surf the web while driving, but it can be annoying at times.

Ca-Fi




The Ca-Fi comes with Opera browser. The scaling is pretty good. The multitouch lets you zoom in and out rather smoothly. Excuse my 3G tether speed in the video.

Other




The Ca-Fi comes with a modified version of Torque. It's modified to be able to use USB OBD2 adapters without needing ICS. They sell an adapter for 50$, but I used an 11$ ELM327 unit from Amazon with perfect results. As you can see in the video, everything functions as expected and faster than a traditional bluetooth OBD2 adapter.

Winner: Tie. I really like the software on the Ca-Fi, but the lack of native offline GPS navigation is a killer for a unit like this. The Adayo has an awesome GPS app that comes with it. Granted I was able to easily get around the limitation of the Ca-Fi and install CoPilot (which is listed as incompatible on the Play Store), but for the more casual user, this could be an issue.

Final Thoughts/Conclusion

This is exciting for the car stereo industry. As a "first wave" of Android units, these both pack a significant argument for throwing off the Pioneers and Kenwoods of the car stereo world. The Adayo can be had for 699$ putting it the entry level all-in-one nav segment, where it absolutely destroys the competition. It does, however, have a couple caveats. The interface is scaled for use with a resistive touch screen (ie, no zooming). Things can tend to be a bit bigger than you'd expect. Also, the Radio app isn't dual zone. This means that you can only be in the app or on the homescreen if you expect to hear the radio. Once you open up another app (such as nav), the Radio app stops. I've contacted the manufacturer about this directly and they know it's an issue. If you listen to a lot of AM/FM radio, this could be annoying to you. The only radio I listen to is sports talk radio and that station has it's own app. Also, don't expect to run torque on this thing either. The bluetooth on both units is locked down to typical head unit bluetooth funcationality. You can only add phones for syncing/calling/A2DP.

The Ca-Fi comes in at 999$, which some might consider overpriced. I think it's worth it. This unit has a tad more capability than the Adayo (Torque, Capacitive Touch, DTV, etc) and the addition of function buttons and seek knob make it a very convenient implementation of Android in a head unit. While you may run into problems with downloading apps that have stringent screen density requirements, it's relatively easy to get around this and install the app of your choice (so long as it's compatible with gingerbread). They REALLY need to include an offline GPS solution for this price, though. The settings do allow you to assign whatever app you install as the Navi app (meaning the hard button will link to it as well as the launcher button). Also, a neat feature of the Ca-Fi is that when you use the radio and start the car, it will play the radio while Android is booting. It's almost instantaneous.

Either way, this is only the beginning and both head units are a joy to use. I've already decided to replace a really nice carputer setup I have in another car with one, because that's just how much better it is to use. I may opt for the Adayo since I don't have an antenna in that car. If I do, I will definitely see if I can port iGo over to the Ca-Fi.

So here's my recommendation. If you use the radio often, want a digital dash with Torque, want a capacitive touch (which is great for operating on a bumpy road) and think you can handle installing APKs from a USB stick, definitely get the Ca-Fi.

If you don't care about the FM radio or Torque and multitouch isn't a necessity, but want a unit with a really nice offline navigation and marginally smoother interface, save the money and go Adayo.

Random Pictures/Videos/Babbling

Ca-Fi Video Player:



Ca-Fi File Manager:

Ca-Fi Play Store:



UPDATE 1/30/2013 - I've been getting a lot of questions about the Ca-Fi knockoff on eBay. I actually returned my Ca-Fi head unit recently due to booting problems and have had the knockoff in my other car for quite some time. If Torque or a capacitive touch screen isn't important to you.... definitely get the knockoff. It's the same hardware, comes with a kick ass nav (Sygic) and is less than half the price.

Last edited by 2forme; 01-30-2013 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:32 PM   #2
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Awesome review!
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:34 PM   #3
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Cheers for that!

Do you have any spec's on the audio processing at all? and can they play CD's?
If the audio quality is average, and no CD's they would almost seem pointless, i would rather my Hi-end Alpine unit and my Nexus 7..

Does look good though, and it will be the start of something really good i can see!
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:17 AM   #4
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The Ca-Fi looks great!!
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:39 AM   #5
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wow that was well written and I thank you for looking out for non iphoners
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:00 AM   #6
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Great write-up. Thanks man.
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by fuddbutter View Post
Cheers for that!

Do you have any spec's on the audio processing at all? and can they play CD's?
If the audio quality is average, and no CD's they would almost seem pointless, i would rather my Hi-end Alpine unit and my Nexus 7..

Does look good though, and it will be the start of something really good i can see!
I'm sorry, I didn't know people still used CD's... jk jk. Yes it plays CD's just fine. I would give the Ca-Fi the nod on audio quality. It features a higher voltage pre-out and full DSP support from Gingerbread.
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:35 AM   #8
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Cheers for that, having a look at their site at the moment, doesn't really have much information regarding the audio side, eg: DAC's. xover capabilities, if it can run Hi, Mid, Low or if its just RH/LH/Sub.
I might send them an email and see what info they can get me
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:51 AM   #9
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Based on your reviews it looks like the Ca-Fi 621000 is the clear winner by far. The work-around for the offline GPS is not too bad and anybody considering a CarPC (which is what an android HU is) should be ready to have to troubleshoot little odd things that don't seem to work exactly how they expect. The fact that the hardware is better in the Ca-Fi is the key here as software can always be updated. But you're stuck with the hardware.

You've used both personally, so your opinion should carry more weight than my purely academic viewpoint. But Reading your review/comparison sways me far more toward the Ca-Fi. I'm curious about the pricing on that one as that could be a big factor as well.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordtakuban View Post
Based on your reviews it looks like the Ca-Fi 621000 is the clear winner by far. The work-around for the offline GPS is not too bad and anybody considering a CarPC (which is what an android HU is) should be ready to have to troubleshoot little odd things that don't seem to work exactly how they expect. The fact that the hardware is better in the Ca-Fi is the key here as software can always be updated. But you're stuck with the hardware.

You've used both personally, so your opinion should carry more weight than my purely academic viewpoint. But Reading your review/comparison sways me far more toward the Ca-Fi. I'm curious about the pricing on that one as that could be a big factor as well.
The Ca-Fi unit is currently priced an $999. I have a CarPC in my other car (Core i3, 8GB RAM, 7" screen). If you want to get technical, any head unit is a CarPC. Most of the Pioneers, Kenwoods, etc have a SoC and Windows CE as an OS.

Installing the GPS was actually pretty easy. You will need a rooted device to initially install it to, then copy the APK from /system/app/ to a microSD card. Insert the microSD into the head unit, and install. On some apps, you may need to use APKTool to "Decompile" and modify the manifest XML to eliminate any screen density requirements. I haven't had to do so yet.

Like I stated in my review above, I'm flat out considering removing the CarPC from my other car and installing this. It's cheaper, more stable, cleaner, sounds better, and is actually geared more towards use in a car.

Feel free to ask any questions or screen grabs.
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:48 AM   #11
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Thanks for the review, 2forme! I'm leaning towards a head unit like the Ca-Fi, but not at the 1K price point. That's typically a price I would pay for an established player that has a substantial dealer and support network in North America that I could rely on should I encounter any issues.

For a "we're half way across the world, but you can tinker with this thing on your own or through forum communities, or deal with RMA'ing to China" type of vendor, I'd be willing to go $600 or thereabouts.

Still, impressive what they were able to showcase here - I'm sure these two entries are just the beginning of some great Android audio gear yet to come.
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:57 AM   #12
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Thanks for the review, 2forme! I'm leaning towards a head unit like the Ca-Fi, but not at the 1K price point. That's typically a price I would pay for an established player that has a substantial dealer and support network in North America that I could rely on should I encounter any issues.

For a "we're half way across the world, but you can tinker with this thing on your own or through forum communities, or deal with RMA'ing to China" type of vendor, I'd be willing to go $600 or thereabouts.

Still, impressive what they were able to showcase here - I'm sure these two entries are just the beginning of some great Android audio gear yet to come.
Absolutely. I'm intrigued by the dedicated UPDATE MicroSD slot on the Ca-Fi unit. I can only imagine that this is for the firmware itself, since there is no offline GPS software from the factory.

I can only imagine what it will be like in a few years.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:20 AM   #13
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What's the likelihood of either of these being updated to a non-antiquated version of Android?
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:31 AM   #14
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What's the likelihood of either of these being updated to a non-antiquated version of Android?
Not really sure. But as it sits. They don't really need it. It does everything it needs to do and more. I haven't come across ANY apps I would use in the car that require a higher version of Android.

That's not to say they don't exist. If you can think of any let me know
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:46 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by 2forme View Post
The Ca-Fi unit is currently priced an $999. I have a CarPC in my other car (Core i3, 8GB RAM, 7" screen). If you want to get technical, any head unit is a CarPC. Most of the Pioneers, Kenwoods, etc have a SoC and Windows CE as an OS.

Installing the GPS was actually pretty easy. You will need a rooted device to initially install it to, then copy the APK from /system/app/ to a microSD card. Insert the microSD into the head unit, and install. On some apps, you may need to use APKTool to "Decompile" and modify the manifest XML to eliminate any screen density requirements. I haven't had to do so yet.

Like I stated in my review above, I'm flat out considering removing the CarPC from my other car and installing this. It's cheaper, more stable, cleaner, sounds better, and is actually geared more towards use in a car.

Feel free to ask any questions or screen grabs.
This HU looks better than a more traditional CarPC for sure. I stated that this was essentially a CarPC since it's primarily an android computer in a double din case. $1K is pretty crazy for a hybrid type unit like that especially without a solid built-in Navigation offering. Thanks for the info.
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:55 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by lordtakuban View Post
This HU looks better than a more traditional CarPC for sure. I stated that this was essentially a CarPC since it's primarily an android computer in a double din case. $1K is pretty crazy for a hybrid type unit like that especially without a solid built-in Navigation offering. Thanks for the info.
It's expensive for sure, but it leaves me wondering how Kenwood or Pioneer can charge 1K$ + for their units that don't offer anywhere near the same experience or expandability. I guess it's paying for the name. Glad you enjoyed the review.
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:15 PM   #17
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Got me very intrigued about these Android headunits. I enjoy Android and was questioning about android headunits but you cleared up alot of things. Thanks alot!
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:12 PM   #18
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Great review I been doing alot of research for my headunit and this narrowed it down pretty good.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:08 AM   #19
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It's expensive for sure, but it leaves me wondering how Kenwood or Pioneer can charge 1K$ + for their units that don't offer anywhere near the same experience or expandability. I guess it's paying for the name. Glad you enjoyed the review.
Kenwood and Pioneer and others charge $1K+ for reliability and full car radio functionality that simply works.

I definitely like where the android based HU's are heading though. If one of the big players can integrate their current lineup with something like this, that would be an "extreme win" product.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:56 AM   #20
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Kenwood and Pioneer and others charge $1K+ for reliability and full car radio functionality that simply works.

I definitely like where the android based HU's are heading though. If one of the big players can integrate their current lineup with something like this, that would be an "extreme win" product.
I guess I don't understand. This is full car radio functionality... and then some. Reliability is to be seen as it was just released in August.

I've had 3-4 kenwood head units fail. Not to mention their problems with USB functionality. Pioneers seemed to have been rock solid for me thus far, but at the expense of a clunky and slow interface.

I definitely like where it's going. This is just the first wave of them, and they already outperform/outclass those "proven" 1k$+ head units from major manufacturers. If it manages to function reliably, then it is a huge win!
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:54 PM   #21
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Adayo



I feel as though the FM Radio app is a bit more attractive and I dig the retro feel to it.



Music

Ca-Fi





I wonder if you can extract your favored interface to an APK and get it to run on the other unit?

I would love to find out, though I hear it is a challenge to root these head units?
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:47 PM   #22
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I wonder if you can extract your favored interface to an APK and get it to run on the other unit?

I would love to find out, though I hear it is a challenge to root these head units?
Yea if its possible ill definitely do it. Though I may just keep the stock radio app because it matches the music player. Lol. Or maybe I should just write my own. Ahh decisions decisions.
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