The first midsize to offer built-in OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot was the Chevy Malibu. In fact, Chevrolet is the first and only company to provide 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots in their cars, trucks and crossovers.
Being a software engineer, I was skeptical of Wi-Fi as a feature in cars because I’ve been using my iPhone as a hot spot for years. I also thought I was satisfied with our 2011 Chevy Malibu, which debuted before Wi-Fi. I simply didn’t understand the benefits of having a vehicle with the added connectivity – until I tried it myself.
What do you get with In-Car 4G LTE Wi-Fi?
The signal from the car is more powerful than from a smartphone. We compared the signal from my iPhone versus the signal from the Chevy Malibu – the speed was similar but the car Wi-Fi seemed a bit more reliable, as it offered less interruptions.
Using the Chevy Malibu hotspot, you can connect upto 7 devices. iOS, the underlying operating system for iPhones, the limitation is 5.
This may seem obvious, although it wasn’t to me, but the car must be on (or in accessory mode) for the Wi-Fi to work. Also, you probably need a separate data plan with AT&T to activate the 4G LTE hotspot in the car so cost is a consideration.
5 Ways In-Car Wi-Fi Will Improve Your Life
- Streaming video – We use Amazon Prime to watch shows like Thomas & Friends for our kids. Why not entertain the little ones by playing episodes of little British locomotives and their pompous ways of patronizing one another!
- Working on the road – Since we drive quite a bit with the kids, we have to work from the car. Road trips allow the passenger (or co-pilot) to pop open a laptop and catch up on emails and get work done while traversing God’s green Earth. Having a connection through the car will allow you to jump on calls and not interrupt your internet connection (are you listening Verizon?!).
- Documenting your trip – Let’s face it – people like to share (read boast) about their travels by posting pics and profile updates. Why not use the in-car Wi-Fi connection to do it?
- Listening to music from a streaming service – Recently I let my Sirius satellite radio subscription expire and lamented hearing commercials (and DJ’s!!!) on local radio stations. Cars come with Bluetooth connections so I find Pandora to be a much better listening experience than the old school FM dial.
- Gaming – Whether you’re playing Chess or Words with Friends with someone online, or a multi-player live action game, the in-car Wi-Fi is sure to come in handy. Kids obviously will be the major beneficiary of gaming with internet connectivity from little ones to older ones playing more sophisticated roll playing games that require internet.
There are other bells and whistles offered by the new Chevy fleet. Here is a video fellow TDAD Joshua Rodriguez and I did while test driving a 2016 Chevy Camaro, pointing out some of the high-tech features (en Español no less):