The ATOTO A6 Pro is an Android In-Car Entertainment system providing all the functionality of a traditional Sat Nav & Multimedia car radio system together with the capability of running Android apps.
The model under review is the A6Y2721PRB from a range of similar units with varying features offered by ATOTO. It has the better 7” IPS screen and physical buttons in a universal double din case, which fits a standard fascia opening when installed with the appropriate vehicle specific fitting kit. I also fitted the ATOTO DAB+ USB adapter.
Although the Android software is only version 6 the unit does benefit from ATOTO specific firmware of which the most recent version 9.5.1 was installed. This firmware is regularly updated by ATOTO to address bugs and enhance functionality.
The specific functions I was expecting this unit to provide were a FM/DAB radio, Sat Nav with Live Traffic and a music player. Live Traffic meant that the unit also had to be able to maintain a connection to the internet when route guidance was in use.
I installed the unit in a Fiat Ducato XLWB panel van which has been converted to a campervan (this vehicle is known as a Ram ProMaster in the USA) and it is in this context which I have reviewed the unit.
The unit came with a comprehensive collection of cables, antennas and ISO wiring harnesses to facilitate the installation of the unit. The only additional items needed were a vehicle specific ISO wiring harness, aerial connection converters and a fascia panel which can all be purchased as a complete kit. Once the original unit was removed the most challenging tasks were deciding where to position the external microphone, GPS antenna & wifi antenna and then routing their cables back to the unit. The wiring was mostly plug and play with some additional connections for the steering wheel controls and handbrake sensor. The only point to note is that a choice must be made between the two ISO harnesses supplied with the unit to suit the way the accessory and battery feeds are connected in the vehicle specific ISO harness. The wiring diagram in the supplied manual shows the wiring connections needed.
Once everything is connected there is quite a collection of wires and connectors which need to be carefully arranged within the vehicle fascia before the unit is inserted. A benefit of not having a CD/DVD player is that the unit is shorter that many units and this helps with getting everything neatly into place.
The first time the unit is turned on it will take approximately 30-40 secs to boot up. If the correct choice of ISO harness has been made subsequent restarts will take less than a couple of secs unless the unit has been turned off for more than a few days when it will take 30-40 secs to reboot.
Each of the individual apps that you chose to use will need to be configured. Ideally the unit should have internet access and the Google Play app signed on with a valid id while this is done so that it can check that the Android software is up to date. If a preferred app was not preloaded it will need to be downloaded from Google Play. In my case I wanted to choose the Sygic Truck Navigation app as I preferred routing guidance which respected the dimensions and weight of my vehicle.
Once the unit had booted I could see that the screen was bright and clear with good viewing angles. The arrangement of the icons and widgets forming the standard launcher could be easily re-configured as required and with the maximum sized screen that it is possible to fit within 2DIN dimensions there is plenty of display space. The unit responded without lag to touch input or button pushes which themselves had a positive click action and being part of the lower bezel of the unit were easily located while the vehicle was moving. Across the bottom of the display was a bar containing icons for back, home, recents, notifications, equalizer profiles, brightness and mute together with a digital clock. So far as I could tell this bar is part of the ATOTO firmware and can not be changed. In practice I found it to be quite useful particularly in a moving vehicle when these icons could be precisely located by resting a finger on the lip of the bottom bezel.
Touching a seek button on the radio widget turned it on and had it find a station. The sound produced using the default DSP settings was of of good quality and equally as good as that produced by the Kenwood unit it replaced.
The standard tuner is an integrated AM/FM/RDS tuner controlled by a proprietary app. The app has a simple interface that controls all the essential features. Favourite stations can be saved and named for direct access. As the app is proprietary it cannot be changed but this limitation aside it performed well receiving and maintaining reception of stations in all areas with reasonable signal strength.
A DAB+ adapter is an ATOTO option which I selected. An app to control the reception of DAB radio stations was preloaded and provided a similar level of functionality as the FM app. However in this case it is possible to use a 3rd party app and I chose to load the DAB-Z app available from Google Play because of its additional features.
One aspect of having a separate DAB adapter is that there is no ability to prioritise DAB over FM with fallback to FM if the DAB signal deteriorates. However the ATOTO unit does have a station following feature within the separate FM and DAB wavebands so it will retune within the same waveband as the unit moves between transmitters broadcasting on different frequencies. Unfortunately this is something which affects all radios which utilise a DAB adapter for DAB radio station reception and so is not unique to ATOTO.
The ATOTO has two separate Bluetooth connections, one specifically for use by a phone and the other for data connections, e.g. Bluetooth tethering or OBD2 use.
A proprietary Bluetooth app is preload which provides hands-free phone functionality and also Bluetooth music streaming from a paired phone. The hands-free phone works well and the external microphone captures my voice clearly.
I was able to easily tether my phone through the second Bluetooth connection but found the connection could not be relied on to automatically connect and remain connected without manual intervention from time to time e.g. on the loss of network signal by the phone. So in this context it is better suited to short term tetherings for casual data sharing.
The second Bluetooth connection is much better suited to use by apps for OBD2 diagnostics and monitoring. There is a ATOTO specific version of the popular Torque Pro engine performance and diagnostic app preloaded on the unit which seems to work well. It will be useful tool to have should I be unlucky enough to suffer some engine malfunction in the future. Track-days and their ilk are not usually the preserve of humble campervans so I doubt that I will use the performance timing features of this app!
The ATOTO uses an external WiFi antenna for improved connectivity and the antenna wire is of sufficient length and quality to allow the antenna’s location to be optimised for the best signal reception. When parked on my drive the reception of the weakish signal from my home WiFi was just as good as on my phone. As I moved from location to location the WiFi reliably auto-connected to networks that had previously been configured. This was particularly useful for ensuring I had an internet connection via my phone’s hotspot available to obtain live traffic information for the Sat Nav.
There is a simple audio player app preloaded which can play music files from a micro SD card, a USB stick or the built in flash drive. Alternative music player apps can be loaded from Google Play and again I found a number of 3rd party apps which offered enhanced functionality.
There are a number of Sat Nav apps preloaded on the ATOTO, including Google Maps and Here WeGo but as this is an Android unit the choice is not restricted to these two and there are plenty of alternatives available from Google Play. My choice of Sygic Truck Navigation was easily installed and reliably obtains a location fix from the GPS antenna supplied with the unit. As a further illustration of the flexibility of an Android unit such as the ATOTO I was also able to add a further app called Easy Navigation which performs searches via Google Maps for places and POIs and then transfers their location directly to a number of Sat Nav apps including Sygic. This greatly eases the entry of destinations and avoids potential errors in entering co-ordinates or selecting locations. The included GPS antenna was quick to acquire its location and reliably provided location details.
Steering Wheel Controls
My campervan has a collection of buttons on the steering wheel for controlling audio and telephone functions. The ATOTO software includes functionality to learn and map these buttons to control its audio and telephone functions. Ultimately the success of this customisation depends on the installation and I was able to obtain a reasonable level of functionality for volume change, station/track change and telephone answer/end. Where a vehicle has no steering wheel controls or satisfactory functionality cannot be obtained a controller is available from ATOTO which can be fitted to the steering wheel to provide similar capability.
I have restricted my review to just the functions that I am likely to use but I can appreciate the potential the ATOTO has to provide a great deal of additional functionality subject to there being a suitable app preloaded or available from Google Play. There is a portfolio of additional ATOTO accessories which can be purchased to extend the functionality of the unit. I was tempted by the Dash Board Camera but when I looked closely into its operation I found that when it was set to automatically record it would record all the time the unit was turned on. Now when installed in a car this is a perfectly sensible approach but when used in a campervan this did not make sense as there would be many occasions when the unit was turned on to provide entertainment without the vehicle moving and thus no requirement for recoding. Manual intervention would avoid this problem but create a real risk that the recording may not be activated when really needed. I did not want to run this risk and chose to use a separate dedicated Dash Cam.
I have been pleased with the performance of this ATOTO unit. It has proved to be a capable and adaptable unit which has provide all the functionality I was looking for and more.
For more details of ATOTO products go to http://www.myatoto.com/