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Linkswell Gen 4 Installed first impressions


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Just picked up the Linkswell Gen 4 and had it installed by my local audio shop in my 2017 Denali. First impressions:

 

  • Basically an android tablet, that can run applications such as maps, waze, netflix, etc independently of my phone
  • While the audio shop has advised that they have installed the bose module, it feels like the active noise cancelation is not working
  • Call clarity is good, but it doesn't use the factory mic, so your stuck looking at an aftermarket mic above your rear view mirror
  • Android auto is not full screen. Literally the same size as on the factory unit due
  • Over all fit looks amazing, but the bezel color is a brushed silver which doesn't match the steering wheel or side vents
  • Climate does not have an auto fan speed. (in the instructions it shows that it does, wondering if something was installed wrong)

 

Overall it is a massive upgrade over stock, but really wondering if I should have went with something different from an established brand (ie alpine, pioneer, etc.)

PXL_20200913_135427856.MP.jpg

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I did a pioneer avic unit. It was a learning curve since i didnt go with the alpine module. Since i already had a sub installed i did the amp bypass and ran a 4ch for interiors. What a difference in sound and functionality. Rear seat entertainment, android auto wireless, screen mirror wireless with full phone control. All for under a grand. Hated the stock unit. Post up how its holding up, i liked the design of that unit

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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  • 1 month later...

Follow up on this after a few months of use:

 

  • The audio shop was able to connect the bose active noise canceling
  • My google pixle 3 xl will not connect wirelessly
  • Navigation on the headunit always thinks I am in a foreign country, or in the middle of the ocean (this doesn't happen when using android auto through the usb connection)
  • tossing netflix on or youtube while running nav off of android auto works well. 

The manufacturer advised that they are working on software updates, and if I had an iphone it would work wirelessly. Hope this helps anyone in the market for a linkswell. 

PXL_20201106_131441589.jpg

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I spent a lot of time looking at this but didn't end up doing it. I really like the larger screen. Jealous when I sit in a dodge ram.

I had the linkswell camera module and it was garbage. It never worked right. Place I bought it from put it on me to deal with linkswell. They never could get the software right. It was really glitchy. It's sitting in my garage. I don't want to pawn it off on someone else, but sucks I wasted the money on it. I ended up buying another brand and haven't had any issues. 

Edited by CheezyDeezy
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On 11/13/2020 at 2:37 PM, CheezyDeezy said:

I spent a lot of time looking at this but didn't end up doing it. I really like the larger screen. Jealous when I sit in a dodge ram.

I had the linkswell camera module and it was garbage. It never worked right. Place I bought it from put it on me to deal with linkswell. They never could get the software right. It was really glitchy. It's sitting in my garage. I don't want to pawn it off on someone else, but sucks I wasted the money on it. I ended up buying another brand and haven't had any issues. 

What brand did you get? I'm in the market for an android based stereo replacement but I might wait a little longer until these brands have worked all the bugs out with software updates

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  • 6 months later...

Sorry to revive an old topic, but i too bought one of these 12.1" units, except mine is from Phoenix Automotive. I actually think they are all made by the same chinese company.

 

You mentioned some issues that i also had, but figured them out.

 

  1. Auto on the A/C: You should be able to open your A/C controls on the screen and tap on Auto. There's no physical button, but the A/C controls on the screen itself should have an auto button.
  2. The maps issue is something i had as well, and i still have it. I think the issue is with the screen resolution. You should be able to open a second app and do split screen with them. If you do this, Maps will work correctly.
  3. Android Auto is not meant to run full screen, its meant to run in its little half window when you are viewing the factory UI. Since the unit is Android, you likely wont need to use it. Run maps on the top, and YouTube Music/Spotify/Whatever on the bottom, it works pretty well. Its a bit slow and takes a minute to get it going, but it works.

I know its been almost 7 months and you've probably already got them figured out, but i wanted to make sure i had these solutions here for anyone else who has these issues.

 

I dont know about you but i had to go turn my gain down for all of my inputs on mine. It was set to 30 and i could hear some static in the louder sounds that played in songs, reducing this to 28 fixed it. My left and right channels were also swapped, i had to flip a cable to get those going properly.

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  • 4 months later...

Reviving an old topic for a specific purpose.  I would have liked to had a little more information when I purchased this at the end of July.  If it is the Linkswell T-Style radio, yes, many places sell these units.  I bought mine locally in WA and had it installed, @CheezyDeezy like you I spent a few months looking at this, and watching the various videos on-line.  My reasons for upgrading, I do not like the GM Nav, I have the 8" touchscreen, and I wanted the Apple Car Play, I don't have an Android phone.

I bought this in July and it is the beginning of November and I am planning on removing this, I simply do not like it.  I used to be into android and modifying/customizing but I am just not into it anymore, nor do I have need for Video in Motion, the ability to watch YouTube, etc...etc...etc....most of the capabilities that make this thing cool are things that I do not or will never use.  Items that irritate the crap outta me, If you have an iPhone and you plug it in, the CarLink picks it up just fine however, when you answer a phone call, CarPlay and bluetooth both pickup, seems it isn't smart enough to not answer from bluetooth when the phone is plugged in.  Apparently this is only an issue for Apple and not Android phones.  Because of this there are times when there is a few seconds delay in speech, either going or coming, like watching the news guys wait 7 seconds for the delay to hit them.  Second, if you have sunglasses on, forget anything but looking at it head on, PITA when you are trying to drive and look at anything on the screen.  Brightness at night, in the city, not really an issue but if you drive in rural areas where there are no other cars and no streetlights it is an absolute eye killer, you can't dim it or rather it doesn't dim but it is pretty easy to just shut the screen down, but again, PITA.  Lastly, for me, it would be nice that when you start the truck, other than waiting for an eternity for the thing to start, it would be nice if how I arranged the screen previously, if it would still be there.  I don't want to have to hop into  my truck and spend 5 minutes waiting for it to start up, then arranging the screens so I can see Nav and Radio at the same time.  Apparently there are ways you can do it, assuming you can set it up and then hit a shortcut or something but see statement 1, I don't have the desire anymore to customize.  I like to be able to open car play and see Nav, Music and phone all on one screen by just pushing the existing layout......simple easy.  It is a nice unit though.  Bought the BOSE adapter for it which is specific to this radio, it retains all the factory stuff so no need to rewire or bypass the amp/sub, and it sounds pretty good without any other modifications.  Maintains the steering wheel controls.  Only thing you really loose other then XM if you have it is the integration into the 4" Display in the instrument cluster, so no more Navigation prompts or anything you use to get from the Radio.  It has tons of stuff you can do with it, I added the DVR camera which works well and a third brake light camera, has some pretty cool stuff.  Anyway, just wanted to put this here in case anyone was looking for one and wanted some more information.  I will be selling all of the pieces of mine, Radio, Bose adapter, DVR camera, Third brake light camera and USB hub that I had them put in once I take it out in the next week or two.

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5 hours ago, rab356 said:

Reviving an old topic for a specific purpose.  I would have liked to had a little more information when I purchased this at the end of July.  If it is the Linkswell T-Style radio, yes, many places sell these units.  I bought mine locally in WA and had it installed, @CheezyDeezy like you I spent a few months looking at this, and watching the various videos on-line.  My reasons for upgrading, I do not like the GM Nav, I have the 8" touchscreen, and I wanted the Apple Car Play, I don't have an Android phone.

I bought this in July and it is the beginning of November and I am planning on removing this, I simply do not like it.  I used to be into android and modifying/customizing but I am just not into it anymore, nor do I have need for Video in Motion, the ability to watch YouTube, etc...etc...etc....most of the capabilities that make this thing cool are things that I do not or will never use.  Items that irritate the crap outta me, If you have an iPhone and you plug it in, the CarLink picks it up just fine however, when you answer a phone call, CarPlay and bluetooth both pickup, seems it isn't smart enough to not answer from bluetooth when the phone is plugged in.  Apparently this is only an issue for Apple and not Android phones.  Because of this there are times when there is a few seconds delay in speech, either going or coming, like watching the news guys wait 7 seconds for the delay to hit them.  Second, if you have sunglasses on, forget anything but looking at it head on, PITA when you are trying to drive and look at anything on the screen.  Brightness at night, in the city, not really an issue but if you drive in rural areas where there are no other cars and no streetlights it is an absolute eye killer, you can't dim it or rather it doesn't dim but it is pretty easy to just shut the screen down, but again, PITA.  Lastly, for me, it would be nice that when you start the truck, other than waiting for an eternity for the thing to start, it would be nice if how I arranged the screen previously, if it would still be there.  I don't want to have to hop into  my truck and spend 5 minutes waiting for it to start up, then arranging the screens so I can see Nav and Radio at the same time.  Apparently there are ways you can do it, assuming you can set it up and then hit a shortcut or something but see statement 1, I don't have the desire anymore to customize.  I like to be able to open car play and see Nav, Music and phone all on one screen by just pushing the existing layout......simple easy.  It is a nice unit though.  Bought the BOSE adapter for it which is specific to this radio, it retains all the factory stuff so no need to rewire or bypass the amp/sub, and it sounds pretty good without any other modifications.  Maintains the steering wheel controls.  Only thing you really loose other then XM if you have it is the integration into the 4" Display in the instrument cluster, so no more Navigation prompts or anything you use to get from the Radio.  It has tons of stuff you can do with it, I added the DVR camera which works well and a third brake light camera, has some pretty cool stuff.  Anyway, just wanted to put this here in case anyone was looking for one and wanted some more information.  I will be selling all of the pieces of mine, Radio, Bose adapter, DVR camera, Third brake light camera and USB hub that I had them put in once I take it out in the next week or two.

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Price your asking ? My nephew been on the fence about getting 1 .

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11 hours ago, PAPER said:

Price your asking ? My nephew been on the fence about getting 1 .

@PAPER I am looking to get $1500 for the whole package, Radio, Bose Adapter, DVR Camera and Third Brake Light camera.  I purchased all of these from ADCMobile.com and had them install it, I am into this around $2400 with taxes and install.  I realize I am not going to get all that back.  But I would also consider a trade and some cash.  Once I remove this I am looking at probably going the Upgraded HMI route, so the 2.5 HMI and Radio and would like the Denali Cluster as well.  I have thought about going the other head unit way, but it looks like I would have to by pass the Bose, add an amp and sub and new speakers, I am not sure I really want to do that.  

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On 10/28/2021 at 7:43 AM, rab356 said:

@PAPER I am looking to get $1500 for the whole package, Radio, Bose Adapter, DVR Camera and Third Brake Light camera.  I purchased all of these from ADCMobile.com and had them install it, I am into this around $2400 with taxes and install.  I realize I am not going to get all that back.  But I would also consider a trade and some cash.  Once I remove this I am looking at probably going the Upgraded HMI route, so the 2.5 HMI and Radio and would like the Denali Cluster as well.  I have thought about going the other head unit way, but it looks like I would have to by pass the Bose, add an amp and sub and new speakers, I am not sure I really want to do that.  

I would actually take $1200 for everything I have, which is the radio, the Bose adapter, third brake light camrea and DVR camera. I just removed it this weekend and put back in the 8" touch screen.  Ordered the Map updates today, and am picking up a Denali Cluster in a hour or so.  It will be a couple of months but I will keep on the lookout for the 2.5HMI and Radio, I might just pick them up from WAMS and have the denali Cluster programmed.  I will be honest, I think the BOSE system actually sounds better than this did IMHO and I have not really been a fan of the BOSE systems.

 

Edited by rab356
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  • 1 month later...

I did end up selling the Linkswell and then I went ahead and purchased the Apple Carplay upgrade from WAMS, so both the HMI and Radio with maps update, I also just bit the bullet and bought the 2016 blue Denali Gauge Cluster.  It took me less than an hour to put all three in last night and I should have went this route to begin with.  The 2016 Maps and interface including the CarPlay is just that extra little bit better to give me what I was looking for.  Everything carried over well so far as I can tell, the Maps, traffic and weather XM Subscription seems to also be there.  I really have disliked the GM navigation which is why I wanted the Carplay, but it might just be ok now, shall see on how easy it is to use.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The one i have is definitely a bit different than the one rab356 has. Everything he mentioned his cant do, mine does, except for remembering the open window layout. It does have a rapid start that makes it start up at a fairly decent speed, and when the truck has been off for a few days it'll actually do a full startup instead. You can tell because it has the ANDROID logo when booting up and takes a bit longer to start.

 

I can adjust the brightness of the screen with the little sun icon at the top left of the nav bar. I dont have any issues with my bluetooth or phone calls, but i'm also using Android. Apple likes to keep things within their own ecosystem and doesnt really fix issues between their own devices and windows, android, linux, or any other OS. The screen on mine gets plenty bright enough! Its surprisingly bright actually. I can see it fine with my sunglasses, as long as the brightness is all the way up.

 

I did have an issue with mine minimizing apps and doing weird stuff, just until i found out it had its own google assistant/siri/alexa/whatever running. Once i uninstalled that, it started working nearly flawlessly. Currently it randomly crashes all open apps, i'm going to get ahold of Phoenix Automotive tomorrow, they have been really good and fast at resolving issues. I typically get this once or twice a week so its not bad, but it happens multiple times in a row. Today for instance, the first 10 minutes of my drive, it crashed maps and youtube music 3 times before it started working properly again.

 

rab is right though, if you want something that just works out of the box, has and does everything you need without the need to tinker, you probably wont like the unit. However, if you like to customize and tinker, you'll like it. Probably wont love it, they are a bit slow, but you'll be happy with it, and if you are an Apple user, you'll probably get frustrated with it not playing well with your phone.

 

This one is mine, my son is customizing the color of the lights around the buttons (and the buttons themselves). I'm currently researching new and more customizable launchers so i can do more. The current home screen barely lets you do anything, but its not an eye sore.


QtXqvya.jpg

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Yeah, it looks a little different than the Linskwell Brand I had installed in mine.  That is where I kind of ended up, if you like android and have andriod and like tinkering then you probably would like it.  It had so much more room for expansion that I didn't tap either.  I am really happy though with the Apple Car Play upgrade, I bit the bullet and bought the new HMI, Radio and Denali cluster from WAMS, got it, took all of 1 hour to put all three in, they went in without an issue and started working the second they turned on.

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