Parrot's Asteroid Smart, From The Back
All of the Asteroid Smart's connectivity is available around back. There's a standard wiring harness that you'll need to wire into your ride's system, or use with a vehicle harness for plug-and-play installation. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you'll find the included harness' pin-out printed in the diagram above the heat sink.
In that diagram, there are two connections labeled ground. Only one needs to be attached, and it's the lead closest to the power wire. The second ground connection worked for shorting the parking brake wire to enable full functionality while our test car was in motion (for testing purposes only, of course). It wasn't even necessary to clip or solder the wires; just plug the ground wire into the parking brake lead using the included bullet connectors. Parrot couldn't have made it any easier to legally cover its rear, while making it easy for advanced users to bypass the lock-out. We aren't advocating distracted driving, but we think it's silly that a passenger shouldn't be able to input navigation directions, for example.
The Asteroid Smart has audio and video I/O for external DVD and Blu-ray players, in addition to rear LCD displays. Unfortunately, this didn't seem to be a very flexible feature. You can only output video from the Asteroid Smart using the system's built in Gallery application for playback, which is limited to the main display. There are no mirroring options for external screens. Video input is straightforward enough, requiring that you launch the input app to display the source signal.
There's a back-up camera input if you want to either add one or simply retain the use of your factory camera. In a proper installation with the reverse trigger wire connected, Parrot's Asteroid Smart automatically launches the back-up camera application when the vehicle is put in reverse.
Three sets of pre-outs facilitate connectivity to external amplifiers. They're rated for 6 V and configured for front, rear, and subwoofer channels. You may notice the Asteroid Smart doesn't have an amplifier trigger wire. However, there's a power antenna trigger that can double as an amp trigger, which we confirmed works.
Should you choose to use the Asteroid's internal amplifier, you can expect the four-channel amp's 23 W RMS and 55 W peak to sound better than the factory options in many cars (including the reference Chrysler 430N unit we replaced), giving cheap speakers a bit more clarity.
You can even retain use of steering wheel controls, if your ride boasts them. Making this connection requires Parrot's proprietary UNIKA adapter interface, which the company provided for our review. We set this up successful on two different vehicles, though we'll go into more detail on steering wheel control shortly.
USB ports are plentiful on the Asteroid Smart, totaling four. One three are user-available though, because the GPS receiver needs one of them. Parrot includes two USB extension cables in the box and a short USB to 30-pin dock connector cable you can attach to one of the extensions. If you plan on hooking up an Apple device, make sure you use the far-right port labeled iPod. It's the only one compatible with the Asteroid Smart music player.
There's a micro USB port for hooking the Asteroid Smart up to your PC for debugging and development. We had no use for it during testing, and never connected it. Lastly, there's an input for the included microphone and an old-school aux input in case you need that.