LeeKooLuu 1 Din Car Android Multimedia Player

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LeeKooLuu 1 Din Car Android Multimedia Player

Post by admin »

Originally Posted by Admin on Sun Oct 10 2021 21:37:51 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

Linuxslate.com Review and Discussion Thread for
Single DIN Car Android Head Units sold under the name LeeKooLuu and other similar units with 9.6 inch High Aspect Ratio Screens

Part 1:  Bench Test and First Impressions


So-called "Head Units" are a popular upgrade or replacement for built-in Car and Truck Radios, Entertainment Centers or Navigation units.  Owners replace their factory equipment for various reasons, and an Android-based head unit can offer numerous advantages -- some of which are listed below:
  • Versatile media playback, including audio formats not supported by even high-end factory units
  • Unrestricted video playback
  • Full Google Maps and Navigation functionality without paying for upgrades
  • Realtime information like Traffic and Store Hours with little or no additional cost (see below for ideas on avoiding separate data charges)
  • Potentially nearly unlimited storage for songs and other media
  • Adding features like bluetooth calling, voice recognition and voice navigation to older or classic vehicles
  • Ability to support additional apps, including those that interface with automotive systems such as Torque
There are a vast array of Android Head Units that fit standard Double DIN radio bays, as well as units that replace entire sections of the car's original panels for a factory like installation -- But what about older or classic vehicles?

Today, there are solutions for even classic cars, and cars with standard single-DIN bays.  The unit described here is designed to fit such cars, although some room around that single DIN cutout is needed.

In addition, a car stereo without knobs, buttons, etc., essentially looks like a plain black panel when the display is off, and thus does not look "tacky" or even out of place for static display.  If it's not recognized as a sophisticated head unit, it may also avoid attracting the attention of a car thief casually browsing your car windows.

As with other Android devices, Android automotive head units are available in various qualities, from well-supported name-brand units, to inexpensive Chinese units with hardware that is not up to the task, and software that seems like it's never been tested.  The unit reviewed here fits into that latter categorize as far a price.  Read on to see how it does in terms of hardware and software.

Overall Description:

The unit is dominated by it's 1280x480 display -- That's right, it's a 2.666:1 aspect ratio, and only VGA resolution in the vertical dimension.  The layout of the rest of the unit is unique too, with all of the connectors facing upwards, on a cut-out area at the back of the unit.  This is done to allow the maximum space for tight installations.  Connector breakout cables are included. A large connector on the right (viewed from top) provides the basic car radio connections as listed:
  • Speaker wires for 4 speakers (all speaker connections must be isolated from ground, as in most modern radios)
  • Constant power (battery) connection
  • Accessory (Ignition on) connection
  • Power antenna connection
  • Reverse light connection (to control the backup camera functionality)
  • Panel light dimmer connection (to control brightness with the vehicle's instrument dimmer control)
  • KEY 1 and KEY 2 wires are provided for connection to vehicle steering wheel or dash buttons[1]
Note[1]  Newer cars with complex CANBUS connected control buttons may breakout these signals on a connector someplace under the dash, or a separate adapter will be required.  More on steering wheel controls later.


Breakout cables are also provided for the other connectors. Continuing left to right in the above picture, the next connector provides RCA Jacks for:
  •  Left, Right, and Sub audio outputs (but not separate front audio outputs) for a power amplifier
  • A lead to control the amplifier power (single wire - not RCA)
  • Composite video output connector (for e.g. Headrest displays)
  • Composite video input (This is not the input selected when reversing)
  • Left/Right aux audio inputs.  
Continuing from left to right, no breakout cable is provided for the next connector, but it may be for a USB breakout cable as are the next two.  The two provided USB breakout cables have some notable peculiarities.  First, the USB "A" connectors are not recessed as they are on most devices.  If a standard USB connector or device is inserted at a slight angle, the metal shield will contact the positive and negative pins inside the connector, causing a short that makes the device reset -- or worse. It also does not support OTG or USB host function. USB Tethering (Client) is not supported by the provided version of Android. As of the testing I have done so far, it seems that only storage devices and web cams are supported. The latter being for the Dashcam functionality (as distinct from the Backup camera, which as mentioned is composite video.)

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Re: LeeKooLuu 1 Din Car Android Multimedia Player

Post by admin »

Originally Posted by Admin on Sun Oct 10 2021 22:16:21 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

Linuxslate.com Review and Discussion Thread for
Single DIN Car Android Head Units sold under the name LeeKooLuu and other similar units with 9.6 inch High Aspect Ratio Screens

Part 2:  Bench Test and First Impressions (Continued)

Physical Description and Connections (Continued)

The last (Right most as shown above) of the beige connectors is for the reversing camera composite video input.  The breakout wire for this connector also contains a wire marked "Brake" and is intended to be connected to the parking brake warning light.  This allows certain functionality when the car is not moving.

Next to this is a standard (full size) car radio antenna connector.  A right angle adapter is provided if needed for cars with limited space in this area.

Lastly is a standard SMA connector for the GPS antenna.  Again, they thought about cars with limited space, and the SMA connector on the included GPS antenna is right-angle.

There are no other connectors on the unit -- no card reader or internal USB connection to expand the storage, and no Micro or USB-C connector for recovery or host functionality.

As mentioned, room is needed around the single DIN space for the 190x75mm screen bezel.  Other than that, physical installation should be easy in most cars.  The package includes as standard 1 DIN mounting shell.

First Use and Initial Impressions:

My unit takes about 30 seconds to boot, and if you happen to have installed the LeeKooLuu Android Multimedia Player in your get-away car, you'll be happy to know that Android does not need to be booted for the backup camera to work.

Once Android boots, the custom home screen is displayed.  The launcher looks nice, and is functional for an automotive navigation and entertainment center.  I should also note that the unit includes an app to easily change the custom boot animation, so while it does not contain boot animations for various automobile brands, if the user is ambitious enough, it is easy to create one.  If the user makes this effort, as well as perhaps a custom background for the launcher, the unit could be made to look as if it was a factory installed system.


The home screen includes an app drawer icon in the lower right.  Fortunately, the unit does not have a bunch of bloatware installed on the firmware.  Unwanted apps can be easily removed.  It also includes Google Play so once you log into a Google account, it's easy to add apps.

My unit included a Chinese AI Voice Control app (actually 2 apps) called NEX AI.  I never got this app to actually respond, and it seemed to be significantly slowing the unit.  I couldn't quit it, so removing the 2 apps was the only choice.  Once this was done, I would say the LeeKooLuu Android Multimedia Player is adequately responsive, but I wouldn't call it snappy.

The 1280x480 screen is actually very nice, with plenty of brightness.  The AliExpress advertisement mentions a wide viewing angle IPS display, and I have to give them credit (in this case) for Chinese advertising that is actually true when you get the unit out of the box: Up, Down, Left or Right, the display does not wash out or excessively lose contrast over reasonable viewing angles.  The touchscreen however, is not as impressive.  Yes, it is capacitive, but a careful reader of Chinese advertising may note that it doesn't say anything about multitouch.  In fact the only thing multitouch about it is that you have to touch each icon multiple times to get it to work.  I am not sure if this is due to limited processing power, or the touchscreen hardware itself.  I can't credit it with being the worst capacitive touchscreen I have ever encountered, but it's close.

As mentioned above, the unit does not support USB tethering,  and it supports bluetooth only as a hands-free device.  The bluetooth connection is handled by a specific app, and the Android OS itself believes that the unit doesn't have bluetooth.  This means bluetooth is not available for tethering (internet access) or file transfers.  The unit also has no SIM Slot and no cellular capability.  It's only connection to the outside world is via WiFi, and sadly, the WiFi does not seem to be all that great.  As with some of the other speed or responsiveness issues with this device, it's hard to tell if the WiFi is actually the issue, or just the limited performance of the device overall. Also note that the WiFi antennas are 2 small wires sticking out of the backup camera connector.  Whether you plan on having a backup camera or not, you must have this breakout cable connected, and you must not cut or remove those 2 short, unmarked wires.

The only solution for data on the go is to enable the WiFi hotspot functionality on your phone (or a separate dedicated hotspot). If your phone or wireless provider does not support WiFi tethering, the only other choice is to cache the maps while you are in range of a WiFi signal, and to do without realtime traffic information, streaming stations, etc.

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Site Admin
Posts: 112
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Re: LeeKooLuu 1 Din Car Android Multimedia Player

Post by admin »

Originally Posted by Admin on Mon Oct 11 2021 22:17:00 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

Linuxslate.com Review and Discussion Thread for
Single DIN Car Android Head Units sold under the name LeeKooLuu and other similar units with 9.6 inch High Aspect Ratio Screens

Part 3  Audio

The LeeKooLuu Android Head Unit is intended to replace a car's radio.  So how is it as a radio or music player?

Before I answer these questions, I should warn the reader that I am an Audio Engineer, and more than just a bit of a snob when it comes to audio equipment.  When I speak of wattage below, I am referring to True RMS output as measured on a Realistic APM-500 power meter, not colloquial definitions of a watt or peak power.

Part 3A:  Media Player

Sadly, the included Music Player is so buggy as to be unusable.  Here is a partial list of it's issues:
  • Small Fonts, plain looking.  No visualization or other aesthetic features
  • No on-screen volume control.  Volume must be adjusted from the pull-down control, or from something like the included "Easy Touch" app.  This may be less of a problem on cars with steering wheel volume control
  • Shuffle does not work properly, and usually does not work at all
  • It does not support folders or file hierarchy
Part 3B:  FM Radio

The story does not get much better for the FM Radio app.  While the user interface is a little more mature, it still has no volume on the app itself.  Also, it is FM only.  No digital stations, no RDS.  Even the stereo indicator doesn't work.  I have no idea what the icon on the lower left does.

The most important warning is that there is no AM radio.  You may ask "Who Listens to AM radio?"  But traffic information, alerts, and public information are still often transmitted on AM.  This radio cannot receive that.  Furthermore, this is a hardware limitation, and can't be fixed with an app.

Part 3C:  Equalizer and Sound Quality

How about that cool looking Equalizer?


Yes, the equalizer is visually very well done, and it does function pretty well without reducing the volume and without significant performance issues.

Another tab on the Equalizer App takes you to the balance a fader.  Again, this is well implemented from an aesthetics point of view, and "gets the job done".  This tab also includes a DSP "Loudness" ("Loudness Contour") switch.

Fortunately, Android allows us to overcome some of these issues.  Power Amp is an excellent audio player, and provides a capable player that looks great on this unit's screen.

Moving past the software and diving down into the hardware layer, things don't improve much.  When connected to the above mentioned true RMS watt meter, the LeeKooLuu Car Android Multimedia Player would light the 4.2W led, but wouldn't even do that without significant distortion.  Boosting my bench power supply up to 13.8V to simulate a running car, helped move the point of distortion up a little bit.  Given the limited resolution of the power meter, I'll give this Android Head unit credit for a true 5 Watts/channel RMS. The AliExpress advertisement says "Power output: 4*45W", and the box says "4 x 55W".  They can't both be true, but they can both be lying.  Anyone wanting a decent sound system will need to use those stereo RCA out connections to connect to a quality external amp.  The good news is that even really cheap speakers will be safe when connected to the unit itself.  I should also point out that 4x5W is adequate for "normal listening"in the confines of a car.  Just don't expect to get any respect at the Saturday Night Tuner gathering.

Part 3D: Streaming

The Spotify App is pre-loaded on the LeeKooLuu 1 Din Car Android Multimedia Player.  Other streaming services can, of course, be installed from the Play Store.  But the real advantage of having a full Android implementation on board is that an app isn't needed for thousands of fee streaming services.

I launched Chrome and typed "New Sovietwave".  Within seconds, unlimited free Post-Soviet synthwave was coming out of the speakers.
Similarly, I did a search for "Shoutcast Directory", searched for "Gothic", and selected a high bitrate stream from Radio NachtFlug.  These free services may not have features like "Skip" or support personal playlists, but I like the fact that there are unlimited free streams out there.  No app, No registration required.

Obviously streaming over the LeeKooLuu head unit via WiFi tethering may consume a lot of your data plan, it does work, and if you happen to spend a lot of time in your car in a city or town with free WiFi coverage, you can listen all you want.

Part 4: Maps and Navigation

Lastly I will cover basic use for navigation.  I have not tried the included "HERE WeGo" app, but I can say that Google Maps works adequately.

It suffers from running on pretty minimal hardware (by current Android standards).  It's not fast, and with only 480 vertical pixels, don't expect great detail or legibility - especially while driving.  You'll have to rely on the Google Navigation Voice more than you would on a device with a bigger screen.  Multi-touch doesn't seem to work, but tap then tap and drag allows zooming.

As mentioned, I removed the included NEX AI voice control app due to lack of functionality and performance issues, but there are 2 basic ways of restoring voice recognition.

The first is to install the Google Search app (just called "Google" in the App Store).  This enables voice input system wide, but like the NEX AI app, this seemed to cause some performance issues.

What seems to work better is to install GBoard, the Google keyboard.  This keyboard includes it's own voice-to text.  This did not seem to worsen overall  performance, but it requires you to tap the microphone icon in GBoard, not in the search bar.

With this done, one can tap the microphone icon, and say, for example, "Navigate to Panera Bread".  This actually makes the LeeKooLuu 6.9 Android Multimedia Player work much better than the Navigation System built into my modern SUV, which is comically bad at voice recognition.  I should also mention that the entire Android Head Unit costs about the same a single map update to the system in my truck.
Part 5: Side by Side Apps

If one holds on an app in the Task Manager for a second, and then drags left, that app will be restricted to a 640x480 (VGA) area. The next app chosen will launch on the other side of the screen.  A great example of this would be to have a display with some Torque gages on one side and Google Maps on the other, but of course there are other basic functions that lend themselves to this arrangement.  This is shown below, but the screen from Google Maps was not saved in the screen shot.  The actual screen looked correct when this screen shot was taken:


Part6: Conclusion

As one should expect from such inexpensive devices, the LeeKooLuu 1 Din Car Android Multimedia Player suffers from significant software bugs. Similarly, if High-Fidelity and/or High-Power car audio is your goal, this device may not be your best option.  If you are willing to try a few different apps, and implement some workarounds, you can end up with a car Navigation System that costs less than a single map update for manufacture systems, and has better live information, and better voice recognition.  


If you would like to comment on this review, please email "john" at this domain, and I will manually create an account for you. Registration is for legitimate and relevant discussion only. Misused accounts will be deleted without warning.
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