Disclaimer: This post was NOT solicited, requested and I received no compensation from Monster, Best Buy, Futureshop or any of their partners.
In theory, controlling your iPhone with hand gestures is ideal for driving. It allows you to keep your attention focused on the road without sacrificing control of your device. Enter the Monster iMotion CarPlay Direct Connect 3000.
After fumbling with a combination of cigarette lighter-chargers and AUX cables and creating wired messes that made my device more inaccessible than Rob Ford’s crack video, I stumbled upon this device at a steep discount. But is it really the all-in-one accessory Monster makes it out to be?
How I Got a $130 Product for $5.07
One lesson I preach often is that online shoppers under-utilize the tools at their disposal such as price-match guarantees and coupon codes, and that’s exactly what I used to get the iMotion CarPlay:
– MSRP ranges from $89.99-$119.99 and knowing the “going rate” better equips you to capitalize on sales
– Arguably the most important component: a site with a sale. In this case, CanadaComputers.com had one for a whopping $14.99
– If you can, look for a price-beat guarantee, rather than a price-match policy. Some companies that match the price and beat it by a percentage of the difference are Best Buy and Futureshop
Now do the math:
$14.99 with price-beat guarantee (10% of the difference) =
$14.99 – (0.10 x [119.99 – 14.99]) =
$14.99 – $10.59 =
$4.40 (plus taxes). Qualified for free shipping too.
The iMotion CarPlay 3000 is a charger that allows you to charge an iPhone or iPad with 30-pin dock connectors (so iPhone 4S and older) while using gestures to control your music through infrared sensors.
Aesthetically, it can’t be beat. It’s small, subtle and has the polish to make you proud to add it to your console. Though fingerprints did show up, it wasn’t terribly noticeable. In terms of accessibility, it’s also very good. The retractable aux cable allows you to control how much cord you’re working with, a huge pet peeve of my current coil. The charging portion also swivels and bends well, allowing great access to your phone from a multitude of angles, including the passenger seat.
But here’s the main issue. The motion control is so sensitive, it’s almost unusable. From 30 seconds into my first use and roughly 45 seconds from then on, my songs were pausing, skipping, rewinding; none of these commands were intentionally given from me. In fact, they all occurred with my hands firmly at 10 and 2 on the wheel. Every time I reached to change the volume or a setting on my console, the iMotion interpreted it as a command. The result was an extremely frustrating listening experience, albeit I did get a quick and steady charge out of the ordeal.
I was displeased after half a dozen encounters with the iMotion Carplay, justifying it’s gimmicky limitations with the thought “it only cost $5.00 so it’s OK”. But it’s not okay. Regardless of price, products should operate as advertised. Although the iMotion CarPlay does provide drivers with hands-free control, it is not functional or practical unless you’re more rigid than Leonardo DiCaprio after Best Actor is announced. Secondly, it doesn’t cost $5.00. I merely paid $5.00 using the method above. If I had paid full retail price for this, or a penny more than I did, I would be stark-raving mad.
My experience with the iMotion Carplay has been echoed on many review forums I visited. Most people took it upon themselves to cover up the sensor with duct tape as a workaround, but the bottom line is we shouldn’t have to. It does speak to the quality of some of the Monster products I’ve owned such as headphones but not to others such as HDMI cables. I’m increasingly writing off the brand as hit-or-miss and advise consumers to thoroughly read product reviews of Monster products before making a purchase.
Overall, the iMotion Carplay has all of the functionality older-iPhone users could want, with none of the execution. The infrared sensor is extremely sensitive and renders the motion control unusable. I’m now using this device solely as a car charger for my phone and have reluctantly reverted back to my long and cumbersome aux cable for audio playback. The search continues.
Would not recommend. 3.5/10.