Both models come with built-in Garmin navigation, a CD/DVD player, HD Radio, satellite radio compatibility, variable color adjustments for customizing the controls’ backlighting, and dual video inputs for connecting multiple cameras. In addition to Wirecutter, his articles have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Consumer Reports, U.S. News & World Report, AAA, Alternet, the journal Nature Outlook, and Green Car Reports. 10 best cloud storage services and apps for Android! Most important, we were sure to run multiple functions at once on each unit, because one of the reasons for using CarPlay or Android Auto is to make it safer and easier to multitask while driving: For both CarPlay and Android Auto, we made and received phone calls while playing audio and running a navigation system from the phone. With the right speakers and installation, we’re confident that any of the models we tested will deliver audio quality that will satisfy or even impress most drivers. If your car has only a single-DIN (7-by-2-inch) dash opening for the stereo, the Pioneer AVH-3500NEX, with a clever slide-out touchscreen, is your best option for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I have a Volvo XC60 and use Android Auto regularly. Only new models of cars have the built-in Android Auto and a lot won’t probably like the idea of additional costs by buying aftermarket head unit. We adjusted the volume up and down for each function, because when you’re driving it always seems like you can’t hear what you need to (turn-by-turn nav instructions or a critical moment in an audiobook). Like all of the other stereos we tested, the XAV-AX100 includes Bluetooth support, a video input for connecting a backup camera, and preamp outputs for expanding your audio system. Ted Cardenas, vice president of marketing, Pioneer, phone interview, November 27, 2017, Tony Mercado, former marketing development manager, JVCKenwood Corporation, phone interview, November 28, 2017, Seth Halstead, Eastern regional training manager, Kenwood USA, phone interview, November 28, 2017, Christopher Mascari, director of business operations, Wirecutter, phone interview, November 21, 2017. Android Auto is a great way to pump up those driving hours! Using your phone as a nav system occupies your screen and consumes data, but it can save you a substantial amount of money—a built-in nav system can add thousands to a vehicle’s price, or it can add hundreds to the price of a stereo (plus, you may have to pay for map upgrades down the line). Plus, you can expand your car’s audio system with an external amplifier by connecting to the Pioneer’s pre-out connectors, which deliver a healthy 4 volts for better sound at higher volumes. Through two rounds of testing, we researched about 70 replacement car stereos, from nine brands, that run Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. According to Kenwood’s Seth Halstead, drivers can also connect other accessories, such as an add-on forward-collision warning system. Alpine ILX-107 Review – Expensive Car Stereo. A nice touch: you can also separately adjust the volumes of the AV source and the navigation app, so one isn’t too loud or soft when using both. In each case, we did our best to mimic all of the situations we’ve experienced while driving, to see how easy each model made it for us. We checked to see how easily they connected, and if they would automatically reconnect after we turned the stereo off and back on. Safely access apps in your vehicle. Our previous upgrade pick, the Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX, is very similar to our new one, the AVIC-W8500NEX, and it’s still available at some retailers for a discounted price. Will this fit your car, and can you install it? In addition to requiring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, here are other key features we looked for when deciding which models to test and recommend, starting with the most important. So far, this inconvenience is just something you have to live with when using these systems. And we liked that while navigating with the map on the screen we could still see our AV source along the bottom of the screen, and vice versa. You get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an easy-to-use volume knob, but no wireless connection, no customizable display, and a smaller screen. It does so by using a motorized 7-inch screen that slides out and pivots up to give you a display the same size as a double-DIN model’s. Experience the best features of your Android device when driving with Android Auto. Shop at Best Buy for compatible Apple CarPlay and Android Auto car receivers. It’s also handy for times where you want to keep your phone free for other uses or minimize its battery and data usage, such as on longer trips. By comparison, Apple's CarPlay is available on "more than 200" cars, but that's not including aftermarket units. If you just want Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and don’t mind having to use a wired USB connection to use them, the Sony XAV-AX100 is a good choice. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Like the AVIC-W8500NEX, this Pioneer comes with a built-in navigation system, capacitive touchscreen, satellite radio compatibility, HD Radio, and Pioneer’s Dual Zone Entertainment (which gives rear-seat passengers the option to enjoy different content than front-seat passengers). So Is an Android Auto Head Unit Worth It? The motorized 7-inch screen slides out and up for use, effectively giving you the same interface as a double-DIN stereo. This makes adjusting the volume quicker and easier than pressing a small button. The ones on this Pioneer have a tactile feel that makes them easy to identify by touch. A sharp screen, intuitive controls, and a rare wireless connection to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto make it safer and easier to use your phone’s features while you’re driving. In addition, its display is more attractive and customizable than those of other models we tested. But as with the iLX-107, we often had to hunt and peck to find what we wanted in the menus. You can connect to Android Auto either wirelessly or with a USB cord, and to CarPlay with only the cord. Unlike our top pick, the Sony XAV-AX100 has only one USB connector (housed in a cord on the rear), which an installer will have to run to a convenient location, such as your glove box or console, for you to plug in your smartphone to use CarPlay or Android Auto. 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