Skip to main content

Parrot Asteroid Smart Review: Android In Your Car's Dash?

Parrot's Asteroid Smart, From The Front

Parrot's first-generation Asteroid (now called the Asteroid Classic) fit within a single-DIN form factor and sported a 3.2-inch LCD display. The Asteroid Smart is part of Parrot's second-gen platform, and bumps the screen up to 6.2 inches with a resolution of 800x480. Although that's not the high-def 1280x720 or 1920x1080 we expect from a new smartphone or tablet, it's adequate, particularly when you're looking at it from a couple of feet away. The Asteroid Smart employs a capacitive touchscreen as its sole user interface. There's a power button up front, but that's just to turn the head unit on and off.

The display looks good, but as soon as the sun comes out (a rarity in Washington, though it does happen), glare becomes a major annoyance. You can't really do anything about it, either. The aftermarket nature of the Asteroid means you're at the mercy of the placement of your factory stereo.

The power button is located on a slim removable bar that doubles as the head unit's face plate. Simply press the sliding release latch up top and it comes off. Parrot magnetizes the face plate to make reattachment quick and easy, which is a nice touch. The face plate is necessary for the Asteroid Smart to work, so we didn't mess with it much, leaving it connected for most of our review.

Under the face plate, you'll find an SD slot populated by an 8 GB memory card with map data for the iGo navigation software that we'll cover later in this story. The SD card is replaceable, and we successfully tested 32, 64, and 128 GB cards in the Asteroid Smart, so long as they were formatted FAT32. Unfortunately, the map data is non-transferable.

Don't plan on swapping SD cards out regularly, though. Frankly, the process is a major pain. The SD card ejects from the spring-loaded slot, but only sticks out enough to sit flush with the chassis. We found it almost impossible to remove the card without a pair of tweezers, which we left in the car for our review.

A hardware reset button above the SD card slot comes in handy in case the Asteroid Smart locks up, or if you need to reboot it for a little hacking action. The button is recessed though, so you'll need a pen or paper clip to press it.